The pride of Norfolk’s youth clinch national title
Norfolk under 18s manager Ian Thornton was a proud man after watching his side clinch an historic County FA Youth Cup final 4-2 victory over Staffordshire at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
A brace from Dereham Town's Nathan Howard combined with a goal from Lowestoft Town's Joe Marsden and an own goal gave Thornton's youngsters a well-deserved victory over the host county at the home of the FA Cup finalists.
'It was an excellent performance from my team; we had a game plan that we wanted to stick to,' said Thornton.
'We had the players watched before the game against Staffordshire, we set up to try and stop them and at the same time we set ourselves up to try and win the game. Everything went to plan and I am ever so proud of the players.'
Norfolk had to come from behind after Ryan Timmins gave the home side the lead, with a header from a set-piece, but Thornton praised his side's reaction after their early setback.
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'We were confident that we thought we had better players but cup finals are cup finals,' he said.
'It was a sloppy goal to give away from a set play from our point of view.
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'The main thing was not the mistake, it was the reaction, which was first class, full credit to the lads for that.'
Thornton reserved special praise for a few of his young stars within a stunning team performance.
'I think you can look at some individual performances from Sam Borrer and Nathan Howard.
'I think at key-times Dan Savory and Ryan Fryatt were brilliant and Joe Marsden at times was different class but this is a group of players that are a team,' he said.
'Whilst you need a couple of individuals to steal the headlines it was a team effort, right from the subs through to the coaches and the committee.
We have all worked hard and hopefully we've got our just rewards. I am extremely proud of everybody, and hopefully they have represented Norfolk very, very well.'
The Norfolk boss also spoke of his own personal pride at being involved in a creating a massive slice of history.
'It's our own bit of history, the first time Norfolk have ever got to the final and first time they have ever won it,' he said.
'That is not bad for the first season. I was extremely proud to walk the players out, we have had a rollercoaster to get here, and ironically I was more confident about the final than any other game.
'Congratulations to everybody involved it is a massive achievement for us.
'It was a superb performance from the Norfolk youngsters, and they thoroughly deserve their moment of glory.'