Saturday 23rd April 2016 @ Longlevens, Gloucester
Gloucester 1 – 0 Erdington and Saltley
(Erdington and Saltley win the Midland Challenge Trophy 10-3 on aggregate)
Team: Rob, Sam, Pharelle, Tion, Ilani, Taylor, Cameron P, Kye, Rio, Harvey, Diago and Che
Man of the Match: Sam
Gloucester under 10s 4 -0 Erdington and Saltley under 10s
Gerard, Taylor, Cian T, Kian B, Tiarno, William, Cameron E, Blessing, Reece, Che and Ilani
Man of the Match: Cian T
Sometimes in football you don’t get the result that your effort, application and desire deserves. Yesterday morning was just one of those days.
The under 11s started proceedings as they met Gloucester in the second leg of their Midland Challenge Trophy final. With a commanding lead in the bag following a stunning performance in the first leg, the lads began the game brightly, having much of the ball and creating a number of chances. At times they linked up superbly, pinging the ball around brilliantly.
The centre midfield pairing of Taylor and Ilani belied the fact that both boys were playing against opponents from the school year above them. With Taylor breaking up play excellently, he gave much food for thought ahead of the new season. Mainly used as a defender for the under 10s this season, the Colebourne pupil proved an excellent partner for Ilani, who too was more than at home against the Gloucester under 11 boys.
The second half saw Gloucester start brightly, forcing Robbo into his first save of the game. Rushing off his line, the alert Gunter shot-stopper showed excellent awareness to keep the scoreline 0-0.
Frustratingly the second half was very similar to the first for The Ton boys, with chances coming and going at regular intervals. If the Gloucester goal was living a bit of a charmed life, it was no less than the Gloucester boys deserved as they gave their final game of the season 110%.
With ten minutes remaining on the clock, the deadlock was finally broken when the Glooucester striker tucked a beautiful shot into the bottom right hand corner of our goal. Refusing to submit, The Ton boys grabbed the ball, composed themselves and threw everything that they had at our Southern opponents.
The final whistle brought with it celebrations from both sets of players – a rare sight! The Gloucester boys had managed to sign off with a win in their final game of the season, whilst the boys from Brum had secured their fifth trophy of a breathtaking season. It was as if the game had been dreamt up by the greatest of script writers!
With the under 11s feasting on sausages and chips, the younger team squared off against Gloucester for the second time this season, having beaten them 7-5 in a barnstorming encounter earlier this year.
Just like their elder team-mates, the under 10s started off the game brightly and were arguably the better team throughout the first quarter. As we know, football is cruel at times and none more so than when William inadvertently directed a Gloucester shot goal-bound whilst defending valiantly. These things happen and if William was in the same position again, I would ask him to do exactly the same thing. It was just a freakish bit of bad luck.
Unperturbed, the lads hit back during the third quarter through an Ilani thunderbolt of a strike which cannoned off the bar. Had that gone in the boys would have had some momentum behind them. As it was, the Gloucester boys bagged themselves a second goal with their own goal still vibrating from the Ilani shot moments earlier.
Although the final quarter saw the boys concede a further two goals, it’s fair to say that the scoreline does their efforts a disservice. Composed in possession and passing the ball intelligently, the signs for next year are exceptionally positive.
With Che making his debut for the under 11s earlier in the morning and with Taylor and Ilani coming off the back of an assured performance during the first half of the under 11s game, even more positivity came in the form of Cian Tevlin’s brilliant debut performance. The St. Mary and St. John pupil was a rock in defence, as well as mixing perfectly personality wise with the rest of the under 10s boys.
Putting the results aside, the boys were brilliant all morning. Their excellent football was bettered by their amazing manners and attitude away from the pitch. Every single one of them did us proud!
Well done boys!
Thank you too Gloucester for your unrivalled hospitality. A few seasons I took a team to Gloucester for the first time after resurrecting the district team and was inspired by Bob and his motley crew and continue to be inspired to this day. The set-up at Longlevens is second to none and made even more enjoyable by the welcome provided by the staff, parents and players of Gloucester. As ever, we look forward to locking horns again next season. Get the steaks ready chef!
Next up for The Ton is the semi-final of the Birmingham Primary Schools FA Cup on Saturday. No rest for the boys…we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Up The Ton!