Hampton’s First XI have been crowned U18 English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Champions for the second time in four years, following a stunning victory against Shrewsbury School in the National Cup Final.

Having progressed through eight rounds of the competition involving over 370 teams from across the country, the Hamptonians travelled to the home of Stoke City Football Club, to battle it out in the final against Shrewsbury in a bid to lift the prestigious ESFA trophy. Around 700 supporters including boys, parents and staff made the journey to the Midlands, with plenty more watching back at School. Dressed in School colours, waving Hampton scarves and in full voice, the atmosphere in the stadium was electric.

The match began at a fast pace, with both teams keen to settle any early nerves, but it was Hampton who struck first. In a move that started from the goalkeeper, the Hampton team strung together a series of well-executed one touch passes to break through the defensive lines of their opponent. The ball fell to Ben Robinson who finished from close range to slot the ball into the right-hand corner and give Hampton an early lead.

Twenty minutes in, Hampton scored again through substitute Josh King. The Fifth Year leapt on the ball in the box, took it past the defender to slot it coolly into the back of the net, to give Hampton a two goal lead going into half time.

Shrewsbury equalised early in the second half with a brilliant strike from outside the box, just out of reach of goalkeeper Conrad Knight. However, Hampton kept pressing for a third with a free kick from Josh King saved by Shrewsbury, and Zain Suterwalla hitting just over the bar to keep the scoreline at 2-1. With ten minutes left to play, a superb through ball from midfielder Ben Walker saw an incredible run from Alex Di Soccio, who zig-zagged through the opponent’s defence and finished brilliantly, to restore Hampton’s two-goal lead. The goal sparked pandemonium from the travelling Hampton fans, and as the final whistle blew, the celebrations began. Hampton supporters raised the roof as the team held up the U18 ESFA trophy in triumph, an incredible achievement and one of the most sought-after prizes in schools’ football.

Congratulations to Hampton’s First XI on the perfect end to a superb season across all competitions. The ⁦⁦final was a wonderful whole-School occasion, with unwavering support from the Hampton fans both at Stoke City and back at School. Director of Football, Mr David Burke, congratulated the team on their superb victory:

To win a National Final is a fantastic achievement for any team, but what makes it more satisfying, is to be able to involve the whole Hampton School Community in this wonderful occasion. The team’s work ethic, conviction for each other, mental resolve, intelligent play and ability to take their chance under so much pressure was outstanding.

The day will be one that they and the wider community will remember for a very long time and will be an inspiration to the younger footballers at hampton. As a football department we could not be prouder of the achievement.

ESFA 2023 Gallery

Take a look at the highlights of the day:

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