Saturday 17th November 2018 @ Vale Stadium, Castle Vale
West Midlands County Schools’ FA 7-a-side
Team: Danny, Daniel, Kian S, Toby, Tavani, Callam, Markie, Alfie and Ethan
Goals: Markie x 4, Callam x 4, Daniel x 2, Alfie and Toby
Man of the Match : Daniel – A colossal in defence and attack. However, this award could easily have gone to any of the lads, who were all amazing!
Way back in 2015 we came within a whisker of winning the West Midlands County Schools’ FA title. After winning all of our group games without conceding a goal, the national finalists of Sam, Kye, Kane, Troy, Rio et al cruised into the final with the wind in their sales. However, one defensive mix up led to them conceding their only goal of the tournament and despite their Herculean efforts at the other end of the pitch, they were unable to claim the prestigious title.
That was the closest we have ever been to lifting this trophy.
That was before yesterday.
Erdington and Saltley 3-0 Wolverhampton
Brierley Hill and Dudley 0-3 Erdington and Saltley
Erdington and Saltley 2 – 0 Sutton Coldfield
Aston 0 – 1 Erdington and Saltley
Erdington and Saltley 0 – 0 South Birmingham
The boys started the morning like they meant business. The opening two games saw them full of energy, pace and effort. They pressed, harried and pressurised Wolves and Dudley, refusing to give them any time on the ball. Their monumental efforts were rewarded with six goals and two clean sheets. A great start.
With only one defender in the squad in the shape of Ethan, we were always going to have to play to our strengths and attack in numbers. However, along with the aforementioned Ethan, Cian S, Daniel and Toby were all formidable in defence. To keep five clean sheets in five group games is testament to their efforts. No matter who was in defence, they created a insurmountable wall in front of Danny, who performed admirably in his under 11s debut.
Against Sutton Coldfield the boys had to dig in deep, wary of not being caught on the break by the talented Sutton front line. After taking an early lead through the goal of the day, the boys continued to attack in numbers, determined to add to Callam’s first time finish in the top right hand corner.
Despite their attacking flair, the boys were almost caught on the counter when Sutton broke from a Ton corner. Sprinting back 30 yards to catch the cantering Sutton striker, Daniel somehow managed to slide in and poke the ball away as the striker prepared to release the trigger.
By the time of the fourth game against Aston, things had started to unravel a little. After taking another early lead, this time through a sublime Alfie strike, the boys lost their shape and rhythm a little – it was bound to happen at some stage in the morning. To their credit, the boys managed the game well and crossed the finish line, even if it wasn’t with the bombast of their opening three games.
Having already guaranteed a place in the final, the boys faced South Birmingham in their final group game. A 0-0 draw ensued, although it was only thanks to the brilliance of the South keeper who denied us on a couple of occasions.
Erdington and Saltley 5-1 South Birmingham
Rejuvenated and pumped up, the lads were determined to make history by becoming the first Ton side ever to lift the West Midlands County Schools’ FA title.
The opening six minutes of the final was a show of the strength, pace and power demonstrated in the first two group games. Goals from Toby, Tavani and Callam gave the lads a 3-0 lead at half time and put them in a envious position entering the last half of football.
After extending their lead through Markie’s fourth goal of a superb tournament, the boys conceded their first goal of the day to a fine South Birmingham strike.
Despite this blow, The Ton reasserted their control almost immediately when Daniel raced up field to rifle a shot low and hard into the bottom right corner. Game over.
While the morning wasn’t without a couple of hiccups, it was undoubtedly the best we have played all season. We look forward to representing Birmingham and the West Midlands at the Midlands finals in 2019.
Well done too to South Birmingham who we faced for the second time in a final this season. While the two results might not have gone the way they would have hoped, they represented their schools and district with distinction and pride. Well done South.
Well done boys!
Up The Ton!