I was there when……..

Event – Brewood Football Festival – 2 x Groups – 8 minutes each way – Semi’s and Final 10 minutes each way, golden goal, penalties

Venue – Brewood Junior Football Club

Date – Sunday 26th June

Team – Penkridge Junior U11′s

Squad – Josh Humpries, Elliot Spillard, Cody Lyons, Rob Shaw, Matt Den Braven, Matt Dyke, Dan Willington, Malek Kent, Joe Duckhouse, Alex Richards.

Our third tournament this season, a local one at Brewood JFC, having not competed in this event before was unsure what to expect or to what the level of competition would be. First impressions were very good, it seemed to be a very well organised tournament, team wise it looked strong with Bilbrook, Wombourne and Bocca Juniors :argh: in our group and our old nemesis Stafford Rangers in the other.

First game against Bilbrook, for once the team were switched on from the start and give Bilbrook no time on the ball, which resulted in an early goal, the team continued playing well, passing and creating opportunities but ended up conceding just before half time, started the second half as we did the first, this time though we made the most of chances and it quickly became 4-1 with Matty Dyke and Matt Den Braven picking up 2 a piece. I know I credit a lot to our fitness but again the second half just showed it, being the more dominant and stronger, I’m not sure Josh even touched the ball.

Second game was against Wombourne United, having watched Bocco demolish them in their last game, and Bocca also beating Bilbrook a win would take us through to the semi’s, so same again, pressure when defending, and relax and pass when attacking, again we dominated but couldn’t seem to find the net, with the defenders mopping everything thing up and I know for a fact that Josh definitely didn’t touch the ball this half. Half time 0-0, started the second again just as strong, but Wombourne also came out quite strong and give us a good game in the second but we just managed to nick one making it 1-0 to Penkridge Juniors and through to the Semi’s

Third and final group game against Bocca, decided to give Dan and Alex the start as they were new to the team. The football Bocca played in their previous games was just a different class, but the other teams were just standing back and admiring, so we had to step it up, quicker in, close them down and give them no space and it worked for 15minutes and 37seconds until from a corner Cody decided he was the new goalkeeper, PENALTY to Bocca which was slotted away, then no time to restart, final whistle, oh well we’ve given them good game, tongue in cheek as we shook hands ‘see you in the final’ as I thought the next would be our last game as we’d be playing Stafford Rangers in the semi’s

Semi Final – Stafford Rangers – Having never beat them in 3 seasons and conceding 16 goals to them in the league this year, it was the semi final I selfishly wanted, we were a different team, confidence was high and they were playing with a new found belief, they were quicker, sharper and wanted it, so 20 minutes to prove it to themselves. Slight change in positions, Malek up front and Matty Dyke on the right to keep Lenny quite, but Lenny was on the right so quick swap, Matty now on the left, rest of the team just needed to do what they did in the other games. Starting the brighter, we created chances, thinking yes this can happen, but they’re a strong team and coming back into it midway through the first half, but again Cody and Elliot just seemed to be mopping everything up with Matt Den Braven bossing the midfield and a couple of great saves from Josh kept the scores level, from this though the momentum started to build and we started to push them deeper and deeper but there goes the half time whistle 0-0 the teams were pretty evenly matched, which I honestly never thought I’d say or see, start of the second half kept it the same for a few minutes then changed, Matty back up front, Joe on the left and Malek on the right everything seemed to be Penkridge, perhaps I’m just biased, but all the 50/50’s we were winning, the loose balls we were first too, even the tackles we were coming out on top, then it happened ball started on the right, Matt DB through to Joe then trough to Matty who coolly, with his left foot, from an impossible angle on the left slotted it home 1-0 OMG, now quick sub Joe who was moving further and further forward as a second striker was leaving there players free so fresh legs, in comes Rob on the left and Alex on the right, Rob played his part having been a more defensive player all season contained the threat and was also winning all the loose balls, the 50/50’s and almost setup up a second, 2minutes to go which seemed the longest 2 minutes ever, and we still seemed to be the stronger team, everything was going our way. That’s it the final whistle Penkridge Junior FC 1 – Stafford Rangers 0 I didn’t care what happened now that was my final.

Final – Bocca Juniors, having complained about us for being too rough, what a team from Penkridge :lol: in the first game it was going to be same again, into them quick, give them no time, then play our game when we have the ball. Game kicked off and as expected both teams were straight into their game and it was going from end to end with Boccas probably just edging it on possession, then for a moment, tiredness kicked in having played just over an hours worth of football, the defence switch off and one of their players wondered into acres of space, taking control of a right to left switch in play slotted the ball perfectly past our goalkeeper, 1-0 but we were still in it and if we kept playing the way we were we may just get something out of this. The football was then end to end with both teams playing great football, with a couple of minutes to go in the first half and some crisp passing Matty was through on goal, bang he goes down in the box, PENALTY up steps Malek, it’s there slotted away top left 1 -1 half time, last ten minutes of the tournament, give it your all and you’ll never know what can happen. Second half was much the same as the first with both teams giving it there all but again signs of tiredness and the heat kicking in for both teams, it had been a long morning. Well that was it, 1-1 and into extra time 3 minutes each way, I think at this stage though it did look like it was going to go to penalties, but far play both teams kept battling and with both teams pushing the strikers further and further forward looking for a winner it could have gone either way, there it is final whistle and penalties –

Would love to continue the report with more but the final score in the penalties was 4-2 to Bocca Juniors – Fantastic Final well done to Bocca Juniors, Fantastic day, Excellent, well run tournament, and lads you did yourselves proud today and you couldn’t have made me feel any prouder, pleased to be part of it and one of those moments when you can say ‘I was there when ……….’ Sorry Shaun if you read this, but, WE BEAT STAFFORD RANGERS :-P (you’ll probably get your revenge on the 9th anyway)

About Pete Spillard

Manager of Penkridge Junior U14's, FA level 2 qualified coach and Vice Chairman of PJFC Support Wolves and work in my spare time :)