Aldershot Town U18s brought silverware back to the EBB Stadium after competing in a tournament hosted by the Premier League at The FA’s St George’s Park National Football Centre.
Academy sides from fellow National League clubs Salford City, FC Halifax Town, Hartlepool United, Dover Athletic, Sutton United, Maidstone United and AFC Fylde also took part in the tournament with the Shots competing in seven matches over three days, in a tournament that also used the VAR system.
They began the tournament with a 2-1 win over Maidstone before a 3-0 defeat to Hartlepool and a 2-0 defeat to AFC Fylde all on the first day. A 0-0 draw followed with Hartlepool on their only game on the second day.
It was enough to allow the Shots to progress in 3rd place where they played Sutton United in the quarter-final.
A Harry Woodward free-kick saw the Shots beat Sutton 1-0 and advance to the semi-final where they beat Maidstone 2-1 again, John Black scoring the winner.
An early goal from Nico Hounto was enough to settle the final as the Shots beat Dover Athletic 1-0 to win the trophy and the tournament.
Academy Manager Ross McNeilly had this to say: “We used this as an opportunity to develop an understanding of tournament football and how to manage games.
“After a slow start, we really picked up the pace in the knockout stages and ultimately the boys were excellent!
“We stuck to our identity throughout, played out and really controlled the tempo of the games in possession. The group really came together well and individually all performed well also.”
The boys will be parading the trophy and their medals at half time in Saturday’s FA Cup game at home to Bradford City, come along and give them the round of applause they all deserve.