Phoenix Academy clinched the Division G Title of the National League u19 Alliance with a gritty but dominant 3-2 win over their closest rivals Brentford Bees at the Mayplace Ground on Wednesday.
Going into the game just needing a draw to make it impossible for Brentford to catch them the Phoenix lads started brightly and took the game to their visitors from the off. The reward came in the first 5 minutes when a sloppy backpass was intercepted by John Walpole who rounded the keeper and squared for Matt Neary to put it into the empty net. Ten minutes later the Bees found a way back into it though. A soft free-kick was given just out of the area and the Brentford top-scorer David Bramany fired it around the wall and into the bottom corner.
For the rest of the half the wind dominated the game. Any high ball would get hugely affected by the movement of the air and it made it hard for either side get into any rhythm. Half-Time 1-1.
With the wind in their favour in the Second Half I felt that Brentford could become a big threat in this game but throughout the whole second phase Phoenix dictated the pace and controlled the tempo of what went on. Deservedly the hosts took the lead around the hour mark when a volley from Walpole was goal-bound but got diverted by a defender who headed it past his keeper. Better was to come shortly after when a storming run from the impressive Manny Oshinowd ended with the tough midfielder side-footing the ball high into the roof of the net. 3-1 and all was looking good. The onslaught really angered Brentford who are clearly not used to being outclassed and from then on every tackle had extra spite and when the ref was not looking there were some underhand tactics being played out. Phoenix responded well to it all and both supported each other well in numbers when under attack while also not crossing the line and getting in trouble with the referee. Had the man in black been firmer in his decisions then the visitors may well have had shorter numbers end the game.
In the final few minutes Brentford piled forward and pulled one back to set up a tense finale but whilst a crazy amount of injury time was being played Phoenix managed the game well and saw it through until the belated Final Whistle. Victory was the least that they deserved on the day and the celebrations of a long but fruitful Season were great to see.
Alfie Aldridge gains a lot of headlines for his 2 goals-a-game scoring record and indeed he is a terrific young talent but this side is deep in riches and many shone today as they have done all campaign. It will be great to watch their progress over the coming years and their performances on the field reflect what an excellent programme Phoenix and Erith School have combined to achieve.
The current table shows what an impressive Season they have had. 100 goals in 18 games against what could be seen as higher profile projects is a stunning outcome and credit should be given to all those involved.
Reminder – the final Academy training days for current year 11s ahead of next season are on Wednesday 11th & Thursday 12th April – 10am Erith School.
Email them at FootballAcademy@erith.kent.sch.uk to apply. Over 50 places have already gone ⚽️
For more details about what the Phoenix Academy can provide, visit my detailed post here
Here are the goals from the game thanks to the excellent @SportAnalysisUK For more videos and to Subscribe to the YouTube channel click here