A JUNIOR football team is flying high after reaching a prestigious cup final.

Hexham U16 Greens defeated a strong Whitley Bay side away from home in the semi-finals of the Northumberland Football League Cup.

The 2-0 victory sets up an intriguing encounter against either New Fordley or Cramlington in the final, which will take place at Longbenton on Saturday, April 25.

Hexham were presented with a difficult challenge against Whitley Bay. Playing into a strong wind on a 3G surface, they deployed a deep formation, and waited patiently for counter attacking opportunities.

But in the face of adverse conditions, they played some of their best football of the season during the first half, and took a deserved lead in the 16th minute. Josh Walker, Dan Simpson and Matthew Kilby linked up well in midfield, before releasing Adam Newton down the right. The latter cut inside and fired a shot across the goalkeeper into the net from 18 yards.

Kilby forced the Whitley Bay keeper into making two fine saves during a fruitful opening period for Hexham.

The visitors had the wind in their favour after the interval, and they doubled their advantage in the 74th minute. A slightly overhit pass to the left wing was kept in play by Newton, who squared the ball to Simpson who finished convincingly from six yards.

Manager Joe Speed said: “This was a great win for us. In the first half we played some of our best football of the season, Credit to Whitley Bay, they came at us after half time, but we stuck to our task.

“Whitley Bay have a very strong side, but we didn’t let them through us, and the victory was testament to our organisation, discipline, creativity, and finishing.”

Many of the Hexham U16 Greens side have played together since U8 level. They have previously reached a cup semi-final, but this will be their first final.

They are also enjoying a fruitful season in the Northumberland Football League Premier Division, and are second in the league table. Joe said his players had much to aim for this season.

He added: “Last season we finished joint top of the league table. Goal difference doesn’t count but we proved we can win it, so we know what we can do.”