The proud U17s’ team of the Matlock Town Academy have made history by becoming the first team to claim back-to-back successes in the Euro-Sporting Blackpool Cup.
There looks to be a bright future for Town’s youth prospects, who went unbeaten through the tournament to claim the title for a second year in a row, playing against teams from across Europe.
The young Gladiators did not concede a single goal in five games, while scoring 11, with Billy Whitehead bagging four.
Matlock eased their way through their group, finding the net nine times in their opening three wins, and a 2-0 semi-final victory saw them advance into the final to face Dutch side MSV 19.
The final finished 0-0 and went straight to penalties where Town claimed victory in a gripping shootout, which finished 3-2 and saw stand-in ‘keeper Lydon Moore make three saves before Jordan Wells stepped up to fire in the winning kick.
The Gladiators’ U16s also had an impressive tournament, finishing runners-up. They were defeated by Greystones United after an unbeaten run to the final, winning four games and drawing one.
Their run in the competition saw them compete against teams from Germany, Ireland, Scotland, France and Belgium. Striker Ethan Knowles was the tournament’s top scorer, netting six goals in six games.
After the tournament, Matlock’s development manager Justin Tellus, who managed and organised the Blackpool Cup tour, couldn’t speak more highly of what the boys achieved. “It’s an historic achievement from the lads,” he said.
“Defending the title as a non-league development side just shows the strength, as well as the depth, in this young, exciting squad for next season.
“We have some very talented players coming through, and this shows what a bright future we have to look forward to within our club,”
Next up for the academy squads will be the development awards night on Thursday, May 4. Tickets are available from next week, with more information at the Matlock Town Academy Facebook page.