Tassell’s troops ready for semi-final challenge

Hartpury will be looking to book their place in the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Boys Under-18 Colleges Trophy final on Monday, when they entertain Stanmore College (kick-off) 1.30pm.

After their 4-1 win over current holders Sparsholt College in the quarter-final, the team will now lock horns with Stanmore in their semi-final showdown – the team that defeated Hartpury at the same stage of this competition two years ago on their way to being crowned champions.

Although they have not won the competition since 2010, the college consistently reaches the latter stages and junior football programme manager, Paul Tassell, believes his side are more than ready to go one better this time round.

He said: “The lads have performed exceptionally well throughout the season and they deserve to have got this far in the competition. Their performance against Sparsholt was fantastic and showed the quality that the squad has.

“However, we will be coming up against a very strong team in Stanmore who also know what it takes to win this competition so we will have to be at our very best to progress to the final.”

The team did not play this week due to half-term but they will be hoping to continue the searing form that saw them despatch Birmingham Met Stourbridge firsts 10-0 in their last game, with England Schools Under-18s striker Mustapha Bundu scoring four times in the rout.
Monday’s fixture signals the start of a busy schedule for the squad, with a last 16 English Colleges FA Premier Cup match-up against Strachan Football Foundation first team just two days later. Should Hartpury progress, the quarter-final is scheduled for the following Wednesday with Tassell’s talented team then jetting off to Italy on Sunday, March 8th for five days after being selected to represent the English Colleges FA at a major international youth tournament – the Roma Caput Mundi.