Khalifa brace as Handsworth win cup

Handsworth with the Under-16s Cup
Handsworth with the Under-16s Cup
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Handsworth won the S&HCFA Youth Under 16s Cup, beating Sheffield Wednesday Young Owls 3-1 in the final at Frickley Athletic, writes Josh Reaney.

The first chance fell to Owls, when tricky forward Harry Groombridge was played through after a quick free-kick only to see his cross cleared off the line.

Three minutes later Handsworth’s powerful midfielder, Luke Francis, saw his free kick drift inches wide .

Handsworth’s opener came on the 12th minute when winger Zakaria Khalifa curled a powerful shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Young Owls hit back immediately and got the equaliser three minutes later, when striker Rene Marsden went through on goal and coolly slid the ball into the bottom corner.

As Handsworth began to control the half, Owls keeper Jake Lancini sprang into action when he smothered a shot from Handsworth’s Liam Beighton after he was played through on goal.

After 27 minutes, Handsworth defender Niall Martin, went on a marauding run down the left flank only to be stopped by Lancini after beating two players.

It looked as if the work rate and defensive organisation from the Young Owls was going to see them through to half time still level, but with ten minutes to go to the half time whistle, Khalifa got his second of the game when he broke free and slotted the ball into bottom corner to make it 2 –1.

Handsworth picked up where they left off in the second half, trying to control possession and get in behind the stubborn Young Owls defence.

Their final goal came after 66 minutes when defender Harry Hurst placed a volley past Lancini from a corner.

Minutes later, Handsworth were denied a fourth when Louis Ballard’s goal was disallowed after being caught in an offside position.

Overall both teams contributed to a fantastic final which was played in good spirit and officiated brilliantly by Mick Bell, Andy Butler, Glenn Whitehead and Chris Denton.

The Cup is supported by Burrows Toyota