We entered 2 teams for this tournament, the Tigers and the Lions ...
The Tigers were managed by yours truly and in my team I had Oliver V, Alfie, Josh (U6), Alex, Marco, Rupert, Leo and Jack. We played Churchdown in our first game and in what was to become a recurring theme for the day, we totally dominated the game, but could not score. Rupert in goal touched the ball maybe once or twice, but for all our pressure and shots on goal we couldn’t make it count, with an inspired performance by the Churchdown keeper, keeping out several efforts from Alex, Marco, Josh and Jack, plus a little help from the post on 2 occasions, earning his team a goalless draw.
Game 2 was the big one, versus our friends from Lakeside! We started well, but conceded a goal when we tried to dribble the ball out of defence, rather than kick it clear. Oliver was in goal for this one and made a couple of good saves to keep the score at just 1-0, but we gradually got more and more into the game and almost equalised with a shot from Alex from half-way, that brushed past the post. Rupert had a couple of efforts blocked as we pressed for an equaliser, but in the very last minute we got the goal our efforts deserved, when Jack fired home from the edge of the box, to earn our 2nd draw of the day.
In game 3 we played Quedgeley, in what looked like it was going to be repeat of game one. Alex thumped one against the post early on as we swarmed all over the opposition goal. Alfie and Josh kept things tight at the back, meaning Marco in goal possibly did not touch the ball all game? Oliver and Jack both went close, with Alex having so many attempts on goal, I lost count. In the end, it was an inspired substitution that did the trick, with Leo running onto the ball and poking it home with his very first touch, for what proved to be the winner!
In game 4, we faced Wotton, and when Marco fired home a screamer early on, it looked like the goals would flow, as we went close again with shots from Josh and Marco. It was all so one-sided, but we got over confident, with the whole team pressing forward looking to score. Defenders Jack and Rupert decided to join the attack, meaning every Tigers player, apart from keeper Leo, was in the opposition penalty area. Which cost us dear, as when the ball was cleared into our half we had no one near it, as a Wotton player raced clear and fire home a very good goal, in what proved to be their only shot in the entire game! Try as we might, we couldn’t force home the winner and so it was, we drew our 3rd game in 4.
In our final game, we played Hardwicke, and I’m sure by now, I don’t need to tell you what happened! Once again, we completely dominated, our goalkeeper (this time Josh) barely touched the ball, but once more we could not score. Alex must have broken a mirror in the morning, as his bad luck in goal continued, with maybe 4 or 5 good efforts either saved, blocked or just missing. Add in efforts from Marco, Jack; Leo and Oliver too, but all came to nothing, for yet another draw.
The Tigers then ended unbeaten, with 1 win and 4 draws, which could and should have been 4 wins and 1 draw. We were saying after the game it would have been interesting to see the stats on the day, where possession overall must have been something like 80/20 in our favour, with something like 50 shots on goal and less than 10 against. A very encouraging performance though from the Tigers and one which we all enjoyed watching. Hard to pick a man of the match as they were all outstanding, but Rupert won it for his non-stop energy and determination.
For the Lions, their team was managed by Niffy, this report courtesy of him …
The Lions team consisted of Oli D, Ashton, Ruben, Sam, Enrico, Harrison, Riado and Ben. In the first match the Lions were on top for large periods of the game, but couldn’t find a way through, with Sam, Enrico and Harrison all going close. Late on Sam was able to stab home from close range after a scramble left the ball loose on the goal line, giving us a deserved 1-0 victory.
Our second and third matches were against much tougher opponents in the shape of Abbeymead and then Lakeside. Abbeymead was a very close 1-0 loss against a team that managed to win all of their matches comfortably. We kept them at bay for a while, with Riado making some good saves and Oli in particular with a couple of excellent last-ditch tackles, but in the end we did concede the one goal. The game against Lakeside saw us concede two goals early on, but we kept our heads up to limit the score to just two after several waves of Lakeside attack, with Ashton coming on half way through as an extra defender to help keep them at bay.
After some testing fixtures against the two hardest teams, the Lions were hoping to bounce back against Quedgeley, viewed as the weakest opposition on the day despite being hosts. The lads were warned not to be complacent, however, and they took these words to heart, going out on attack instantly and scoring after just 16 seconds with Oli tapping home! Barely a minute later and Oli had another, co-ordinating well with Sam and Ruben before slotting home. The team hung on for a 2-0 victory despite a couple of dangerous looking Quedgeley attacks.
Our final match was against Churchdown, perhaps our closest opponents in terms of ability, but in the end a very comfortable 2-0 victory after what was our best performance of the day. Churchdown played with a striker very far up the pitch, but they were well marked out of the game by Ashton and Ruben, and then Ben and Enrico in the latter stages of the game. The Lions pressed and pressed but struggled to find a goal, before a heavy tackle saw Harrison go down to win a penalty. He was hurt in the process, but dusted himself down to score the penalty, with Sam also slotting home later on to put the icing on the cake.
All in all, the Lions finished with 3 wins and 2 losses, and after some excellent performances from every single player it was very hard to select a man of the match! In the end it was given to Harrison who never seemed to stop running the entire time he was on the pitch, but all players did superbly well in what was the first tournament for many of them.
Both teams really did us proud, playing some good football, all in a really good spirit, and definitely earned some extra carrots and cabbage with their Sunday lunch!
Men of the Match: Rupert Ward & Harrison Attwood