January 27, 2020
A FEW of Dyke House Academy’s National Playstation Elite Cup stars have been reliving the Harrogate heroics that has put them in the quarter-finals.
A fantastic Year 8 team performance from the Hartlepool secondary school saw them come from behind to defeat St Aidan’s Church of England High School, of the North Yorkshire town, 2-1 in dramatic fashion this week.
It means Dyke House, a Northern Education Trust academy, will be the last remaining North-East side in the competition when they head to Grimsby to face Tollbar Academy for the right to appear in the semi-finals.
Attacking midfielder Frankie Coulson struck the sweetest of winners at Harrogate Town’s Wetherby Road stadium to fire Dyke House into the last eight.
Coulson’s winner arrived after striker Gene Steels had cancelled out St Aidan’s opening goal less than a minute earlier in the second half.
The 12-year-old, who plays for Middlesbrough FC along with team-mate Ollie Duthie, said: “I had space in the middle, Ollie gave me the ball and I thought I’d give it a go and lucky enough it went in from 30 yards.
“When the ball came to me, I knew we still had to score. I looked up, the goal was glaring at me, I hit it as hard as I could and it flew in. It was the best moment of my life!
“I just ran to the corner flag, hurt myself on it, and everyone jumped on me, including the players on the bench who had ran along to join in. It was just the best feeling.”
Dyke House still had a further eight minutes to hold on to the slender lead.
Captain Duthie, 13, led by example to inspire the comeback.
He said: “When they scored, it sparked a reaction from us and we got back in to it when Gene scored. I passed to Frankie for the second, I knew it was going in, but the job still wasn’t done.
“I sat back in defence after that. We did it and it is hard to believe, with all the schools in the country, we are in the top eight – and the only team from our area to do that.”
Dyke House and the Grimsby opponents they face next will be joined in the quarter-finals by teams from Northampton, Chelmsford, Lea Valley, Sandwell, Watford and Manchester.
Steels is delighted to have struck the sweet left-foot finish into the top corner that started the turnaround in the last-16 tie.
The 13-year-old said: “When they scored with 15 minutes gone in the second half I thought we were going to lose, but Frankie said for me to get forward.
“He launched it up, Shay Hackworth won the ball, he played it in behind the defence and on the left side. I needed to shoot, it went in the top corner.
“It felt class, it felt like I saved us when it went in. I didn’t want to celebrate because there was still work to do. We kept going from there and Frankie scored. It was mental everyone jumped on each other. I can’t wait for the next round.”
It is the first time Dyke House have reached the last-eight of the national cup since the 1980s, when former Wolves and Ipswich defender Mark Venus was part of the side.
Team coach Mr Joe Palmer said: “The Elite National Cup allows teams to field as many players attached to professional academies as they want, so you can imagine the high standard in the competition.
“This is such a great achievement to reach the last eight and now we are there who knows how far we can go. They just have to keep going and working hard, like they have shown they can do already.
“Hartlepool is not a massive town compared to some and it is fantastic that we have had a good record of producing footballers at Dyke House. Our Year 8s have made everyone proud.”
The Dyke House Year 8s team is made up of Will Crannage, Max Croft, Alex Griffin, Kian Evans, Ethan Watson, Shay Wood, Frankie Coulson, Thomas Rowbotham, Codie Young, Gene Steels, Nathan Bailey, Shay Hackworth, Ollie Duthie, Stevie Weldrake and Troy Horsley.