Lads lift People’s FA Cup

Grange Academy celebrate following the U16 Disability Final during the The FA People's Cup Final 2016 at Goals Sheffield on March 20, 2016 PNL-160323-114854001
Grange Academy celebrate following the U16 Disability Final during the The FA People's Cup Final 2016 at Goals Sheffield on March 20, 2016 PNL-160323-114854001

An U16 football team from Kempston is on its way to Wembley after winning a national cup competition.

The Grange Academy players were victorious at the FA People’s Cup five-a-side tournament on Sunday after beating fellow Bedfordians, the Beds FA County Representatives.

"SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Grange Academy celebrate following the U16 Disability Final during the The FA People's Cup Final 2016 at Goals Sheffield on March 20, 2016 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill - The FA/The FA via Getty Images) *** Local caption ***" PNL-160323-114838001

"SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Grange Academy celebrate following the U16 Disability Final during the The FA People's Cup Final 2016 at Goals Sheffield on March 20, 2016 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill - The FA/The FA via Getty Images) *** Local caption ***" PNL-160323-114838001

As well as lifting an impressive cup, the team were presented with tickets to the FA Cup Final at Wembley on May 21, where they will be honoured on the hallowed turf at half-time.

Grange Academy’s path to becoming FA People’s Cup U16 Disability champions saw them play the Reps in the qualifying stages.

The Reps beat them in the regional semi-finals on a penalty shoot out, and they were then drawn into seperate groups for the Sheffield competition.

After beating teams from around the country, both teams made the final, with Grange Academy winning on penalties after a 4-4 draw.

Ahead of Sunday’s finals, the boys were visited by Luton Town FC footballers Craig Mackail-Smith and Jack Marriott who wished them luck and presented them with a new kit.

Craig Mackail-Smith said: “The boys have done fantastically well to reach the national finals of the FA People’s Cup.”

Jack Marriott addedd: “Even in the short time we spent with the lads you could see that they are a skilful group.”

Meanwhile, the boys were congratulated by Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson, who said: “The Grange Academy team has had an amazing journey to win the FA People’s Cup and we are so proud of them.

“Their team togetherness, work ethic and commitment has been a credit to them and winning this competition is just reward.”

The FA People’s Cup debuted in 2015 and returned this year withm ore than 35,000 players from over 4,000 sides entering at the start of the year.

Only a fraction of those making it through to finals day in Sheffield.

Grange Academy is a special academy for pupils aged eight to 16, with a wide range of ability levels and additional learning needs. The Academy’s football team is affiliated to the Bedfordshire County Football Association and participates in the Ability Counts League.