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The EAFA Season Review

Writes: Evan Halliday

Another year of entertainment has come to a close with silverware shared between Everton and Portsmouth while Chelsea continued to make positive strides through their transitional period -bedding in exciting young talent into the first team.

It was a campaign that involved skill, resilience and drama like no other, a fitting tribute to the late Joe Willmott, who sadly passed away in July. Joe was a huge character on and off the pitch and an ever-present figure in amputee football who is missed by all associated with EAFA.

The Amputoffees finished the season with the League title and FA Disability Cup in hand, while Pompey brought the League Cup and the EAFA Cup back to the south coast after both sides battled with each other all season-long for the prizes.

Portsmouth went into the season as potential favourites for most competitions, coming off a treble-winning 2022 season and they started their defence by winning the League Cup in March, a vital save in a penalty shootout vs Everton by Pompey’s goalkeeper Thomas Atkinson set his side up to face Arsenal in the final where the South Coast club eased to a 4-0 win and their first trophy of the campaign.

Matt Dean celebrates his goal alongside Pompey teammates - Image: Jake Kirkman

Everton claimed the FA Disability Cup, beating Pompey 4-2 in the final, live on BT Sports (now known as TNT Sports) where Rhyce Ramsden took the headlines producing an exquisite Man of the Match performance, followed up by a less so elegant post-match interview.

The Amputoffees celebrated in magnificent style parading their achievement in front of a packed Goodison Park during half time of the Everton vs Sporting Lisbon game.

Members of the Everton squad celebrate their fourth goal at the FA Disability Cup - Image: Jake Kirkman

The high-flying Toffees continued their winning form in a final day showdown with rivals Portsmouth for the League title, Everton’s number nine, Liam Burbridge scored the only goal of the match which clinched the title for his team and sealed a memorable double.

Chelsea finished the season bottom of the league, but showed signs of promise throughout as the young squad competed in games but struggled to get over the line in some fixtures, England and Chelsea midfielder Harry Ash gave some insight on the club’s progression.

“I feel there has been some chemistry building within the squad, the young players who started to come through and get more and more minutes have impressed and we trust each other in possession, I believe we have the ability to become a difficult team to beat and start to compete more,” said Ash.

Chelsea’s Harry Ash (left) challenges Portsmouth’s Jamie Tregaskiss in wet conditions at Reaseheath - Image: Bev Lambourne

The season was rounded off with the EAFA Cup, the stories dominated by a prospective Everton treble but Portsmouth had saved their best form of the year for the final dance as they were rampant in victories over Chelsea and Everton on their way to lifting the trophy, showing up in front of the cameras and the live stream of the tournament – thanks to FilmMyMatch.

The domestic season has come to a close but Portsmouth will continue their fight for trophies on the European stage, competing in the Champions League in November.

Thank you to everyone involved in making yet another special season of Amputee Football.


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