The Ark William Parker Academy year 10 boys’ football team narrowly missed out on winning a county competition.
The Hastings-based academy was edged out 5-4 by a strong Ardingly College side in the County Cup final at the Sussex County FA headquarters in Lancing.
Parker conceded two early goals, but Mapstone pounced on a loose ball to pull one back. After Corke had a goal disallowed for offside and Mapstone hit the post with a header, Ward dribbled past three players before unleashing a thunderbolt from 25 yards to make it 2-2.
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Parker were dominating possession and territory, and went in at half time 3-2 ahead thanks to another Ward goal, this time a free kick from close to the corner flag.
The second half started as the first finished. Avery forced an Ardingly defender into losing possession then calmly slotted through the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 4-2.
Parker were still well in control of possession when Ardingly broke away to score their third goal with a shot from outside the box and it wasn’t long before they levelled at 4-4.
Parker had several opportunities to retake the lead, but shots from Peacock, Palmer, Warren, Ward and Corke were either straight at the goalkeeper or narrowly off target. Ardingly rode their luck and came up with a winner three minutes from time.
Parker coach Jimmy Elford said: “The boys were magnificent and gave all they could; we will be back again next year where we hope to win.”
It was the third time in four years this William Parker team has reached a county final, having won the trophy in year seven and lost out on penalties last year.