A BLISTERING start which saw Croft Juniors Red under 10s three up inside 10 minutes was enough to claim victory in their cup final against Forest Green Rovers.

The match began in tentative fashion, most striking for the technical ability of players so young.

However, Croft were first to threaten after six minutes as Tadhg O’Callaghan skipped down the left flank and found Reegan Messenger in the box, but the striker couldn't convert.

Croft were ahead two minutes later, as Lewis Hutchinson showed great skill to pass two Rovers defenders before dispatching his shot low past Ben Stopford.

A minute later it was two, as William Collis-Smith put a low shot to the keepers left from just inside the box.

Croft completed a rampant three-minute spell with their third in the 10th minute.

A long wind-aided free kick from inside the Croft half was flicked home off the head of Regan Williamson.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Oliver Beeston headed a goal-bound effort off the Forest Green line, to ensure the score was 3-0 at half time.

Less than a minute after the restart, Croft almost added a fourth.

Collis-Smith’s smart early cross found Charlie McCrae at the far post, who forced a smart save from Stopford.

Five minutes later, Stopford again was impressive, as he dived at the feet of Messenger when the striker was clean through.

Again, it was Stopford who was responsible for keeping the score at 3-0 when he was equal to Adam King’s effort after he’d worked his way into the box from the right wing.

Forest Green’s attacking efforts were effectively absorbed by the impressive defensive duo of Alfie Burton and O'Callaghan.

Croft manager Martin Hutchison said: “I’ve worked with some very good players in the past, but this is the best group I’ve worked with.

“I’ve had them since under sevens and they’re a special group who with hard work have become a great team. It’s like a jigsaw and everybody has their part to play.

“We’ve retained the league and now the cup, so it’s like a double double for us and I’m so pleased for the boys.

“I’m over the moon, we kept a very good side in Forest Green quiet today and the performance was faultless.”