Geoff Springell Memorial Cup Final
And so to Burnham FC to play this, the first 11-a-side Cup Final for the boys, against a Flackwell Heath side who we knew to be a well organized, football playing team.
After following the formalities of dressing room protocol, and the obligatory pre-match shaking of hands, the boys were able to release their energy in the pre-match warm-up before the big kick-off.
The sun was shining, and the expectant crowd seemed to be more nervous than the players.
Flackwell kicked off, playing with the sun behind them, and immediately broke forward. A goal was surely on the cards in the opening minute when they waltzed through the Burnham defence, only for Henry to make a miraculous save down to his left to prevent an early set back for The Blues.
This was soon followed by another raid on the Burnham goal, but Henry was equal to it yet again, and deflected the ball onto the post with another outstanding save.
The boys were under severe pressure in these opening minutes – something was needed to turn the tide. It was now that the work ethic of the team came into its own, and was to last the rest of the game. The early efforts of Jake, Adam, Blake and Joe to repel the early onslaught were superbly backed up by Alfie, Daniel, Firas, Rhys and Luca, and soon the game was being played not in the Burnham penalty area, but in the middle of the park, where the boys were gradually starting to hold their own.
Despite the good football being played by Flackwell, they were not able to re-create the chances made in the opening minutes, and with the excellent closing down and tracking back by the Blues, the game was now even.
Indeed, the constant pressure being put on the Flackwell players when in possession was starting to pay dividends, and when Toby forced a defender into playing a weak back pass, the same player pounced to slot a low shot past the advancing keeper and put Burnham one up!
The Burnham supporters and players went berserk, but there was still some 50 minutes to play.
The game was becoming a war of attrition, with Jake once again marshalling the back four superbly, and Rhys playing in just about every position to try and gain his team the upper hand.
Callum, Rowan, Jamie, Thomas and Mitchell were now introduced into the fray, but the effect was the same. The commitment and work shown by them was equal to that of their team mates, and despite Flackwell winning several corners, they were well dealt with by a dogged Burnham defence.
Half time, and the boys came into the changing room for a well earned rest. But they were keen to get back out and continue as they had in the first half.
The first 10 minutes of the second period belonged to Burnham, as Flackwell seemed at a loss as how to penetrate this resolute opposition defence. Even their dangerous wingers were made to look ordinary as Joe, Thomas, Adam and Luca would not be denied. Toby, playing solo up front, but with brilliant support from Callum, Firas, Alfie and Rhys, was working his socks off, giving the Flackwell defence no respite. It was he who almost scored a second when, after good work again from Firas and Rowan, he found himself in front of goal, but the shot was straight into the arms of the grateful Flackwell keeper.
But now the tide turned again, as the opposition started to raise their game for the final 15 minutes. Corners were won which caused few problems to the Burnham defence, and several times the wingers got to the by-line, only for a defender to win the ball with a covering tackle, or a timely interception. The Burnham offside trap was also working well, several times the Flackwell forwards being caught offside.
With a minute to go, another Flackwell raid down the Burnham left ended with a low hard shot which looked as though it would sneak into the bottom corner of the Burnham net. But, yet again, Henry was there to make a good save. He punted the ball upfield, the referee blew the whistle, and the Cup belonged to Burnham Junior Lynx Blues!