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Steely U11 Whites lift the cup

By Simon Lonsdale

Stanningley Gala Champions 2019

On Saturday, the LS27 FC Whites squad made their way to their first Summer gala hosted by Stanningley Albion. The Whites were really pleased to welcome Brandon and Elliot into the team who will be joining the squad for the 2019/20 season.

The Whites started their gala football against a very strong Garforth Rangers side. The Whites edged a close game with a goal from Gustav enough to seal the win for the Whites. Some confusion on timings meant the Whites went into their second game versus Stanningley Albion Reds a little more unorganised, despite dominating possession the boys were unable to grab a goal, before being struck with a late sucker punch to lose the tie.

The boys in Pink really started to find their feet in their third game against Farsley Celtic Blues. Gustav was at the double, Dylan powered home a fine header from a set piece, with the performance being capped by a wonderful strike from Elliot, rifling the ball into the top corner with his left foot from outside the area.

The fine final performance of the group stages saw the Whites top their group on goal difference which tee’d up a Quarter Final against Stanningley Albion Blacks. The Whites were comfortable throughout the game; another fine strike from Elliot, this time on his right foot from outside of the area, but again into the top corner, was accompanied by a good goal from Ryan to take the boys into the semi-final.

The boys had done incredibly well to go 4 games only conceded one goal, with Josh and Oliver typically solid at the back. Dan was his usual hard-working self on the left, whilst Dylan was absolutely fantastic all day; strong in the tackle and positive in possession. Ryan and Elliot struck up a fabulous partnership in the middle, really complementing each other well, as one sat the other roamed forward to support attacks. Lucas was tenacious in midfield, and the rotating front three of Gustav, Omar and Brandon looked threatening all day. More to come on the goalkeepers…

The drama started in the semi-final…. The Whites were up against a strong Stanningley side who they had lost to earlier in the day. The team got off to the worse possible start, conceding an early goal as a fantastic counter-attack caught the Whites napping and a powerful strike left Charlie with no chance in net. The Whites now had an uphill battle against a team that had been resolute in defence throughout the gala. Gustav was having a great battle with the opposition centre-half and wasn’t going to be denied; breaking into the box to finish with his weaker right foot to draw the Whites level. The Whites continued to press, with a couple of minutes left it look for all of the world that the Whites had won the game, Gustav collected the ball 30 yards from goal, spinning on the ball before firing a wickedly curling strike towards the top corner of the goal, the ball was set 5 yards outside of the post before curling inwards, cruelly rebounding from the angle of the goal and cannoning across the goal line before being gathered by the keeper, Gustav was denied what would have been the goal of the season. Archie was relatively untroubled in the goal in the second half. As no team could break the deadlock, the team went to an uneventful extra-time…Penalties were now on the cards. Charlie resumed in goal for the spot kicks.

Elliot stepped bravely up first and dispatched his penalty into the corner. Stanningley stepped up and scored. Brandon then slammed his penalty past the keeper, again nestling in the corner. As Stanningleys second penalty taker stepped up, Charlie stood to the left of his goal, offering the rest of the goal to his opponent. The trick worked as the penalty went wide off the post. Gustav was his cool, calm collected self, again the penalty found the corner. Stanningley stepped up again, Charlie was dancing on his line like a young Bruce Grobbelar, before leaping to his left to deny Stanningley! The pressure penalty was on Ryan, who stepped up confidently; corner found again and the Whites were into the final, cue absolute pandemonium and Charlies team mates piled on him in celebration.

As soon as the last penalty was dispatched, the skies opened and a monsoon engulfed the pitch. The final was delayed with an attempt made to allow the weather to pass.

After a short interlude, the Whites stepped onto the pitch again to face Farsley Celtic Whites in the final. The Pinks started really positively pressing high up the pitch. An early chance fell to Dan whose strike at goal was denied by a fantastic save from the opposition keeper. Shortly after however, Gustav broke down the right, cut into onto his left and fired past the keeper to give the team a deserved lead. Farsley looked dangerous but were well marshalled by a resolute performance from the boys in Pink. However, late into the game Farsley found space in midfield before letting fly with an effort from all of 20 yards. What looked to be heading to the top corner was clawed away incredibly by Archie, showing fantastic reflexes to palm the ball over the bar. The corner was ushered away and the Whites saw the game out to be crowned the Stanningley Gala Champions.

Every single player played out of their skin all day and deservedly took home the silverware; a fitting way to end what has been an unbelievable season for the Whites squad!

Updated 21:16 - 16 Jun 2019 by Simon Lonsdale

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