Academy duo help Young Dragons to tournament winExeter City Academy pair Max Smallcombe and Ethan Ampadu helped the Wales Under-16 squad to become outright winners of the Victory Shield for only the second time in the tournament’s history.
The duo were both involved in Wales’ 2-0 triumph against Northern Ireland at Ballymena Showgrounds, completing a clean-sweep of three wins for the Welsh youngsters.
The tournament pits under-16 players from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland against each other in a round robin. The Young Dragons’ only previous outright win came in 1948, whilst they have shared the accolade a further four times.
Ampadu and Smallcombe were involved in all three games – Wales defeated England 1-0 in their home fixture in Bangor, before triumphing 2-1 away at Perth in Scotland, and they wrapped up the title in Northern Ireland with a 2-0 win.
Smallcombe, 15, played the full 80 minutes in central midfield during the final fixture – it was his pinpoint free-kick that found the head of West Bromwich Albion striker Tyler Roberts for the opening goal in the first period.
14-year-old Ampadu replaced Cardiff City defender Liam Angel at the break and helped to marshal the Welsh defensive unit from a centre-half position, as they held out for a clean-sheet. Liam Cullen of Swansea City cut in off the right and bent in the goal that sealed the title.
Everyone at Exeter City would like to pass their congratulations to Max, Ethan and the rest of the Welsh squad for their achievement.