Frickley 3 (6 pens) Stocksbridge 3 (7 pens)
Young guns, having some fun,
Crazy ladies keep 'em on the run
Alan Hansen once said "you win nothing with kids" - & ultimately he was correct, we didn't win....but I'll tell you what, it was great fun watching the Young Guns have a go!
We had 5 debutants in the starting 11 & 2 more on the bench but they weren't overawed by playing alongside seasoned pros like Dangerous Dan Palmer or Morgan Armit, or playing against a pretty much full strength SPS team. James Brookes (Frickley U19s) made his debut in goal, with Marco Vieira, Lewis Szanto & Marcus Birkelund (all from the NEFA Academy) also making their debuts alongside Cameron Hough, who we have just signed from Shaw Lane. The bench featured Liam Carrick & Callum Doherty both making their debuts, also products of Mick Thompsons conveyor belt of talent.
I'm sure John Longbottom or Andy Steele will confirm if that's the most debutants we've had starting a match (first matches of any season excluded) - Ken Whitehead would love to know....
Obviously with some of them having just met up for the first time in the changing rooms it was going to be a hesitant, nervy start.....yeah right, 8 minutes gone, ball into the box collected by Marcus Birkelund who sticks it away as cool as if he was called Joe McCool of Cool Street, Cooltown, Coolshire.
They continued to impress with their passing play & determination although SPS were able to protect their goal from further impact.
On the half hour Brodie Litchfield got the 1st of his & SPS 3 goals in normal time - a mishit clearance from young Brookes fell to him & he hit it back into the open goal. I hope the keeper doesn't dwell on that because he acquitted himself well.
5 minutes later the ref missed the most obvious stonewall penner since Shinner Hopewell got pulled down last Saturday - Dangerous Dan Palmer breaks into the box & just got barged to the deck - no penalty apparently. Shortly afterwards, SPS got their 2nd with a decent finish.
HALF TIME - FRICKLEY 1 SPS 2
Morgan Armit replaced Marco Vieira at half time & the Blues were straight on it in the 2nd half, Birkelund with a good shot & turn that was comfortably saved by the keeper.
15 minutes into the half & we were back at parity - Captain Darkenbauer threaded a beautiful ball to DDP who showed lovely feet to evade the defence, round the keeper & tuck it home. A minute later & the Young Guns continued to show that they hadn't read the script by taking the lead again, a cracking strike from Vice Captain Teddy Bloor.
Jameel replaced debutant Hough (he looked very assured on the ball) who had picked up a slight knock & Callum Doherty replaced the excellent Birkelund (who linked up well with Stanzo up top) & it looked like they were going to get over the line but SPS got their 3rd with 5 minutes to go with another good strike - to be honest there wasn't a tap in amongst all 6 of the goals.
Full time was 3 apiece & it went straight to penners - it was 4 each after the regulation 5 & it ended 7-6 after 16 penalties. We'll send Southgate the video on how to take pens if he wants it. Our young keeper did well, 2 SPS penalties barely crossed the line as he got good hands to them.
So close but no cigar - & most of them are too young to smoke anyhow! Our 3 goalscorers ages combined are the same as mine....I'll leave that with you for now. So no prestigious final played at somewhere like Glossop North End for us, & no chance of winning the season changing £1000 prize money for winning the competition - life can be cruel at times.
WEBMASTER MOTM - a doddle this time, Mick Thompson & Andy McKnight, respective coaches of the Frickley & NEFA Academies for producing these young players.
120 though the gate - thanks to everyone - & if you weren't amongst them, your loss my friends.
Next up we're at home to Stamford on Saturday - see you there