Under 8s at the ESF Tournament Pwllheli May 3-6 2013


OTJ Wales Trip 2013 001The Under 8s took two teams to Pwllheli this weekend (May 3-6) to take part in the Spring Bank Holiday ESF tournament.

After arriving during Friday, and an enjoyable Friday evening for all, Saturday morning saw the boys begin their campaign.

The teams were organised into two leagues of 7 teams, with one of our Under 8 teams in each league.

The Phantoms squad in Wales consisted of Lucas H in goal, Samuel and Ben at the back, Jayden, Charlie and Alexander in midfield with Eddie up front.

They began the tournament v Whinney Banks YCC FC from Middlesbrough.  A very tight encounter, which the lads lost narrowly by the odd goal, a well placed pass and finish that took advantage of the Phantoms having a  player down injured.  Lucas made some good saves to keep the Phantoms in with a shout, but the lads were a little slow to get going by their own very high standards against a good side.

The Warriors squad consisted of Archie in goal, Rowan, Seth and Matthew in defence, George, Jamie and Oscar in midfield, with Tyler up front.  They kicked off their campaign straight after the Phantoms, playing Porthmadoc JFC.   The Warriors dominated the game and took the lead after a fine pass from Jamie placed Tyler through on goal, who made no mistake.   Jamie had to be substituted after a nasty bang to his knee ended what had been an excellent performance.  The Warriors were in total control, and never looked threatened, until a late bizarre own goal – a sliced clearance that spun back into the goal and past an unsuspecting Archie, meant that the Warriors had to be content with a draw.

The second Phantoms game was against Bispham Predators whites, with a much sharper performance seeing Eddie score twice in a comfortable 2-0 win, with both goals coming from fine passes from Ben and Samuel.  Eddie and Charlie both rattled the crossbar with excellent shots.

The Warriors played Bispham Blades Whites next in what was a brilliantly entertaining battle.  Archie made several outstanding saves when he was called upon. Rowan, Matthew and Seth battled hard and the Warriors almost nicked it when George and Oscar combined to set-up Tyler whose superb strike was met by an equally superb save.  Both teams walked away proudly after a well-earned draw that drew high-praise from the referee.

The final game of day one for the Phantoms was against Haydock, who won every other game during the weekend except this one.  An entertaining 0-0 draw saw the lads dominate possession, Eddie hit the post and an all-round great performance that the gracious Haydock coach acknowledged afterwards.  He was very complimentary of the way the Phantoms passed the ball.

The Warriors last game of day one saw them meet a very strong Blackpool Rangers side, who, with several players leaving them for professional academy teams next season, played some lovely football.  Despite this Warriors performed really well, and despite going down 3-0, they were left to rue several missed chances as George, Tyler and Oscar all went close after they matched their opposition with some creative passing of their own. Another great performance.

A great Saturday of football, and a surprising amount of cloudy sun, that left several parents and coaches with very red faces and heads!

After another evening of entertaining fun, the lads faced another day of three matches each, as some of the watching parents wondered if Bucks Fizz had really made an appearance in Hosty’s caravan; who was the terminator; and was there really a body in the woods…?

The Warriors kicked off against Bispham Predators Blues in another battling performance against a strong team.  Bispham took an early lead and had control of the possession, but the Warriors dug in.  Archie once again made a string of fine saves, and when Bispham did beat him, there was Oscar to make two amazing goal-line clearances.  The Warriors almost secured a draw, when first Jamie made a fine solo run and crossed for Tyler whose shot went narrowly wide, and then Jamie himself went close with a snapshot.  Again a great game.

The Phantoms started day two in determined mood. Their first match was against Bispham Blades Blues. A dominant performance saw the boys chalk up a 4-0 win. The first half saw the Phantoms do everything but score as Bispham made several heroic goal line clearances, with one very memorable goal mouth scramble that had both sets of Watching supporters applauding!  Eventually a neat Alexander pass fed Eddie who netted once again!  That was followed with some lovely passing from Jayden to Eddie, who crossed for Charlie to make it 2-0 –  a fine team goal.  They then combined once again in reverse as Charlie this time laid on Eddie.  Charlie made it 4 after a fantastic solo run from Alexander.

The Warriors penultimate match saw them face Billbrook Juniors who won every game in the group, except for this one!  An awesome performance from the Warriors saw them withstand an avalanche of attacks, with every player blocking passes, crosses and shots as the opposition pushed for a 100% record. However, they met the Warriors in determined mood, who as ever lived up to their name and secured a fantastic draw, earning high-praise again from the referee and opposition coach.

Game two on day two saw the Phantoms defeat Bispham Predators Reds, who hadn’t conceded a goal up until this point.  The opposition took the lead against the run of play as the wind curled in a corner past Lucas’ outstretched hand.  Eddie (who else..!) equalised almost straight away with an opportunist left foot finish.  Eddie then followed with two more to establish a comfortable lead and complete a fine hat-trick after more good work from Jayden, Charlie and Alexander in midfield.  Bispham clawed back a late consolation with a deflected shot that beat Lucas. Ben and Samuel defended magnificently in this (and every) game and the Phantoms ended the match worthy winners.

The Warriors final game of the weekend saw them face Thornton Clevelys FC.  The Warriors took the lead as Oscars beautifully chipped corner was deflected past his own goal-keeper by an unfortunate opposition defender.  Oscar then followed this with a brilliant solo run and shot that was well saved.  George almost made it 2-0 with a left foot snapshot from Oscars corner that curled narrowly wide.  Thornton then came back into the game and scored twice late on to nick the game from the Warriors who really deserved a better result in this game.

The Warriors side finished the weekend having played 6 matches – drawing 3 and losing 3 – with all of their family, friends and coaches incredibly proud of each and every one of the lads, whose overall play deserved a lot more luck.  A brilliant effort from all of the lads.

The Phantoms last game of the tournament saw them meet Wyrley LK09 and their rather ‘lively’ coach!!   The lads ran out comfortable winners, with two quite superb strikes.  First from substitute Jamie, who replaced an injured Alexander for a brief cameo, and promptly despatched a fantastic shot from distance that flew past a helpless Wyrley keeper; the second was from Jayden, with an excellent left foot shot from outside the box.  Both high quality goals, with high quality celebrations to put the seal on three excellent wins on day two for the Phantoms.

The Phantoms ended the tournament having played 6 – winning 4 games, drawing 1 and losing 1, a record that would have seen them finish as runner-up in their group to the team they drew against.  Again, a brilliant effort from all of the lads.

The weekend was rounded off by a great presentation event, as all of the lads were thrilled to receive their participation trophies from former England legend and current Blackpool Manager Paul Ince, and his son and current Blackpool player, Thomas Ince.

The ‘icing on the cake’ for a fabulous weekend was when the Warriors received the Under 8 age group fair play award for the second year in a row – an award that is scored by the referees and reflects the performance of players, coaches and the supporters. Well done all!

That put the seal on a fantastic weekend of football and fun for all in a brilliant setting.

Thanks to the coaches, parents, grandparents and friends for all your support over the weekend and an especially huge well done to the boys who all played and behaved fantastically!

You were all an absolute credit to Ossett Town Juniors Football Club.

Photos to follow in the next few days on our photos page…….