Saturday 17th June 2017 @ Wednesfield High School
Brierley Hill and Dudley 0 – 2 Erdington and Saltley
Goals: Cameron and Resharne
Man of the Match: Cian T
Whilst yesterday was the last game for the current ‘year six’ boys, it was also their best performance of the season. Against the league champions and favourites Brierley Hill and Dudley, the boys pulled a stunning performance out of the bag to lift the West Midlands County Schools’ FA Cup for the third year in a row!
Knowing the Dudley striker was a class act, we changed our formation to four at the back to keep him quiet and our clean sheet would suggest this move was successful.
Within the first few minutes of the game we knew we were in the trenches. Dudley were hard in the tackle (but fair) and all over us whenever we got the ball. Fortunately we weathered the storm long enough for our midfield trio of Ilani, Cameron and Blessing to find their feet and settle into the game. However this was only possible thanks to the committed rearguard effort of Danny, Tiarno, Cian and Taylor, coupled with a stunning one-handed save by Gerard. It was the kind of save that cousin and Ton legend Dermot would have been proud of! In fact, I recall him pulling off a similar save against Kings Norton in 2014!
With a minute left on the clock, Cameron pounced to poke home from two yards out following an almighty goalmouth scramble. It wasn’t pretty but who cares.
At half-time, in the shadow of the onlooking Darius Vassell, the boys were told to continue fighting for every last ball and to back each other up until the last whistle. Thankfully this is exactly what they did!
Shortly into the second half, the hard-working Che made way for Toby, after running himself into the ground and working selflessly up front for the bigger cause of a cup triumph. Toby settled quickly into the game without disrupting the flow of the team, as did the other four substitutes, with Reece, William, Aidan and Resharne all making significant contributions to the victory.
The latter bravely stepped up to take responsibility for the penalty that was awarded after Cameron was brought down in the Dudley area. Despite being one of the youngest players on the pitch, Resharne calmly tucked the penalty away to make it 2-0 with ten minutes remaining on the clock.
With the final whistle came an immense sense of pride. Against the odds, the boys had rallied and pulled a performance full of grit, determination and heart out of the bag. That’s what special teams do. That’s what special districts do.
And there you go. After our toughest game of the season, came our best performance and with it our greatest achievement.
It’s been emotional boys!