Friday 30th October 2015 @ Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground, Wolverhampton
Erdington and Saltley 2-1 Leeds
Team: Rob, Taylor, Kye, Tamiel, Harvey, Blessing, Ilani, Tion, Oakley, Samim, Pharrelle, Cameron E, Camperon P and Diago
Scorers: Samim and Pharrelle
With six lads called up to play Leeds the next day for Birmingham Primary Schools, Friday saw this very talented squad grow further in stature, in a season in which they continue to go from strength to strength. This is arguably our biggest ever win, against the biggest ever district that we’ve played. We might only have 45 schools to pick from but my word there’s some talent in those 45 schools!
Tamiel came in to the squad to make his 9-a-side bow, whilst four of the under 10s stepped up, making a mockery of the fact that they were at least a year younger than their opponents.
The first twenty minutes started brightly with Tion pulling the strings in the centre of midfield, supported expertly by under 10s captain Ilani. Up front Samim was a bag of tricks and a welcome addition to the team, having not played since scoring a goal in the final game of the Bath International Cup in August. The Birches Green wizard tied the Leeds defenders up in all sorts of knots and was rewarded with a goal, after expertly finishing a brilliant Tion through-ball.
The second twenty saw the four under 10s take centre stage – Blessing slotted in to the right of defence, Taylor was a rock at the heart of the back three, Ilani continued to marshal the midfield like a young Patrick Vieira and Cameron E used his blistering pace to reap havoc down the wing. Despite giving Leeds the advantage in terms of age, the boys played some breathtaking football and retained possession brilliantly. With Samim now on the left and Cameron P up front, the Leeds defence were given no rest and on another day Cameron P could have doubled our lead, shooting narrowly wide after Samim and Tion linked up brilliantly, before Ilani slid the Gunter shooter in on goal. Despite our great play going forward, Leeds were still very much in the game and continued to attack us at every opportunity. Fortunately the back three of Diago, Blessing and Taylor were more than a match for our northern rivals, with the latter winning every ball in the air!
The final twenty minutes brought with it more goals and plenty more excitement. Bursting down the wing, Kye crossed the sweetest of balls which was met by Pharrelle, who doubled our lead with a bullet header. It was no less than we deserved and just like the second twenty, we could have scored again, with Pharrelle, Samim and Tion coming close with chances. As with all good teams, Leeds refused to lie down and got back in the game when their striker smashed a rebound past Rob, who could do nothing about the effort. So strong have the boys been defensively this season that that goal was only the third conceded in the past nine 9-a-side games. It’s not all about the attackers!
The final whistle was a cue for Ton celebrations and rightly so. The boys stepped up a level on Friday and showed that there’s great depth to our ranks. We’re blessed to have this group of lads to work with and if they continue to work their socks off, there’s no limit to what they could achieve.
A massive thank you to Bob Brown and the rest of the guys at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC for their support and hospitality, as well as to Ian and Wolverhampton Schools for their invite. Finally thank you and well done to Leeds. All of their boys were hard working and good mannered, the two things that I always demand from my boys. They were a credit to their great city and we wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season.
Man of the Match – It was close. Very Close. Tion captained the district for the first time and was immense. Samim slotted back into the team like he had never been away. However Taylor pips it, after refusing to be beat all game!
Up The Ton!