Saturday 12th December 2015 @ Wolverhampton Wanderers
Erdington and Saltley 2 – 3 Sutton Coldfield
Team: Rob, Sam, Taylor, Kye, Ilani, Rio, Kane (c), Cameron, Samim, Tion, Harvey and Pharrelle
Goals: Kane and Cameron
Our last two games have both been high pressure games – first we faced Sutton in the final of the West Midlands 7-a-side and then we faced our north Birmingham neighbours in what was effectively the final of the Birmingham League. In both of these games we lost out to the narrowest of margins, with Sutton benefiting from weather assisted incidents of bad luck and from the finest of goal difference margins. Coming into the BPSFA Winter Cup Final we were determined to yield this series of unfortunate events and gain another piece of silverware.
Starting the game on the front-foot, we had the better of the opening five minutes, although Sutton Coldfield started to look very dangerous on the break. Ten minutes into the game The Royals broke away and capitalised from our uncertainty to take a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later it was 2-0 to Sutton, after a similar counter resulted in a clinical finish. At this point it would have been easy for the boys to fold but they’re made of tougher stuff and managed to steady the ship and see out the first third.
Still very much in the game – down but not out – the lads started the second third like a steam train, dominating possession throughout the entire second twenty minutes. Chance after chance was created but Sutton’s resolute defending meant nothing came of them and the score stayed at 2-0. However like all good captains, Kane then popped up just when his team needed him and struck a sweet shot to get us back in the game. With Tion now on the pitch and helping the team move the ball with more pace, the second goal seemed a sure thing. However yet again Sutton stood firm and kept us at bay. Driving down the left, Samim’s determination to chase a seemingly lost cause meant he was able to keep the ball in for Tion, who then passed the ball to Cameron in the Sutton box. The Gunter forward had worked his socks off all game and his sheer stubbornness meant he was able to get a shot on the Sutton goal, only for it to be saved, before eventually stabbing home the rebound whilst lying on the floor. Great team spirit epitomised in one team move. We were back in the game and the end of the second third came just when we didn’t want it to!
Before heading out for the final third we talked about the need to move the ball quicker, rather than holding on to it for too long on a cramped pitch. The lads were pumped up and raring to go. Alas if there’s one thing we know about football, it’s that it is a cruel game! Within 30 seconds of the restart we were 3-2 behind following a slice of misfortune, although great credit must go to Kieren (Sutton Coldfield) for his determination in closing down Ron and Harvey. The next twenty minutes seemed to fly by, just when we didn’t want them to! Chances came and went once again but we couldn’t find a second equaliser and agonisingly lost another final against Sutton Coldfield.
At the end of the game the lads were out on their feet and their spirits all but crushed. They were hurting. However they should be proud of their efforts throughout the game and proud of their efforts during the first half of the season. The spirit amongst this set of boys is unlike anything that we’ve ever experienced before and this defeat will make us stronger. It is worth noting that this is our first 9-a-side defeat since August, as well as the first time that we have conceded more than one goal in a game all season. There is not a lot wrong with what we’re doing and before long it’ll fall into place and luck will go our way. When everything clicks the world needs to watch out!
The final word belongs to the boys of Sutton Coldfield. Well done lads, we’re loving the rivalry that has built up this season and look forward to more of the same during the second half of the season. Congratulations The Royals!
Keep your heads up lads, you’ve done us proud!
Man of the Match – Cameron P: Brave. Committed. Hardworking. A fantastic performance from the Gunter pupil.