St Mary Magdalene storm to victory in Islington Gazette Cup final at Emirates Stadium
- Credit: Archant
St Mary Magdalene Academy gained revenge for last year’s final with a 3-0 triumph over favourites St Aloysius College to clinch the Islington Gazette Cup for the first time.
The Liverpool Road school had lost to St Aloysius in the 2014 final, but their current Year 10 team set the record straight by scoring three second-half goal without reply at Emirates Stadium.
Darren Kemoi, who had squandered earlier opportunities, made up for it by drilling the opener nine minutes into the second period and goalkeeper Max Sutton then denied Ryan Manzeke an immediate equaliser.
Skipper Christian Forino doubled his side’s advantage with seven minutes remaining before Carlton Chukwu made it 3-0 soon afterwards to seal victory.
St Mary Magdalene midfielder Frankie Scott was named man of the match, but there were also strong claims from central defensive pair Roy Barnett and Albert Hicks, whose efforts kept St Aloysius at bay.
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Tom Mayes, who coached the winning side, told the Gazette: “Last year we were very open and allowed them to play, but this time we were quite compact, we kept a good shape, and they weren’t able to play through us.
“The Year 11s had already got their own back, beating St Aloysius in the final of the Mitre Cup, and now this year group have shown what a really talented group of lads they are.
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“It was an outstanding team performance right from the start. Well done to all of them and also to John Aldridge, who managed the team through the other rounds.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the boys – they’re Arsenal fans and their dream is to play on that pitch. To win as well, you can’t ask for more, and it’s been a really good year for the school.”
Manzeke almost gave St Aloysius an early lead with a header that was cleared off the line, while Nash Amanuel was unlucky with a cross-cum-shot that struck the base of the post.
But Kemoi – playing a year above his own age group – dragged the best chance of the first half wide with just keeper Nick Grimes to beat and was also off target with a half-volley.
However, the St Mary Magdalene forward made no mistake after the break as he raced onto a free-kick, controlled the ball and rifled it into the far corner.
Grimes prevented Kemoi from making it 2-0 with a chip that he clawed behind, but the keeper was beaten again when Scott set up Forino to steer home his side’s second.
St Mary Magdalene’s success was assured two minutes later as Kemoi’s shot was saved by Grimes, but the rebound fell for Chukwu to slot away.