Tuesday 7th June 2016 @ Heartlands Academy
West Midlands County Schools’ FA Cup Semi-final
Erdington and Saltley 8 – 3 Sutton Coldfield
Team: Rob, Kye, Sam, Tion, Ilani, Kane, Rio, Samim, Cameron P and Troy
Goals: Troy x 3, Kane x 2, Rio, Sam and Samim
Man of the Match: Troy
Ahead of the match my stomach was in a thousand pieces. I felt sick. At times during the first 20 minutes, I was left holding my stomach in pain. The nerves and excitement were getting the better of me.
About two weeks ago I turned 32 years of age. Around 10 days ago I got a new job for September; I will be a Deputy Head Teacher. I’m not self promoting myself here, but stating these facts as a means of proving I should know better! I shouldn’t feel like this!
However this group of lads are special. This group of lads have given us 12 months of memories and experiences that we will never forget. They’re the gift that keeps on giving! They make you feel like this!
Last night saw them square up against Sutton Coldfield for the last time in 2015/16. The 67th and final time! What a rivalry it has been too! I think you would be hard pushed to find such a rivalry no matter how far back you went in the schools football history books! There has been some cracking encounters this season and last night was no different.
The first twenty minutes may have been a little scrappy but it did see us have plenty of the ball and test the Sutton keeper from distance four or five times. However we fell behind thanks to a sucker punch of a goal when Sutton converted their first corner of the evening. Undaunted, the lads picked themselves up and continued to pepper the Sutton goal, although often from distance and rarely causing major trouble for our north Birmingham rivals. That was until we converted a corner of our own! Swinging in a beautiful corner from the left, Samim dropped the ball onto the forehead of Sam, who smashed the ball into the back of the net. Game on!
Flying out of the traps at the start of the second twenty, the boys took the lead for the first time when captain Kane carried the ball through the centre of the park before unleashing a left footed long-distance rocket, after spotting the Sutton keeper momentarily out of position. With momentum well and truly on their side, The Ton bagged a further two goals, courtesy of goals from the lively Rio and Troy. At the back, the fantastic defence, who were being brilliantly shielded by Ilani, kept Sutton at bay and ensured we ended the third 4-1 up.
The message at this point was clear: Work hard and keep it simple. No silly business and the final would be ours.
I’m still not sure if the boys really listened to me as four more goals is hardly keeping it simple! However on this occasion I have no issue with being ignored!
Those four goals came from Troy, who completed his hat trick and bagged his 38th and 39th goals of the season, Samim and Kane. Samim’s goal was a perfect example of how to counter-attack in style. After the defence repelled a Sutton attack, Kane picked the ball up in the left back position before opening his stride and sprinting down the left hand channel. Overlapping him, Samim picked up Kane’s through-ball before closing in on goal and slotting the ball away for the seventh Ton goal of the game. With Cameron now back on the pitch and creating chances down the wing, following a brief injury forced break, another couple of goals could possibly have come our way.
In between our four third-period goals, Sutton bagged a brace of goals of their own. However considering they were now playing with three or four men up front, the defence did a great job at batting away a number of dangerous Sutton attacks.
This report couldn’t be ended without a special mention to Kane. A number of weeks ago he broke Shilo Waldo’s record for the number of goals in a single season when he scored his 45th goal of the season. More impressively, last night was the night when he shattered Mr Waldo’s all-time goal scoring record. Just like the former St. Matthew’s sharp shooter, Kane has played for The Ton for two seasons and during that time he has now scored 76 goals, which is two more than the previous all-time record. What an achievement!
However, I know Mr Taylor would be the first to point something out and that is the fact that his remarkable achievement was made all the more possible due to the team that he plays in each week. I’ve never known a group of boys with such a strong sense of unity and team spirit. I’ve never known a group of boys back each other up in the manner that this lot do. What a team!
Now it’s time to refocus our attentions and look towards Saturday’s final against Dudley and Brierley Hill.
Thank you Sutton for the season of our lives! It’s been a pleasure sharing the pitch with you so many times this season and an honour to play out so many close, thrilling encounters!
Only three more get-ups until the final boys!
Up The Ton!