The first round of the S.B.Y.F.L. Cup and we drew Premiership team Newington currently sitting seventh in the table. We knew this was going to be hard.
Playing for our first time on a 4g pitch at The Hammer this was a match that will go down as one of our best performances ever and definitely our best this season.
We started the game well and matched Newington throughout the match, so you could tell this was going to be a tight scoreline. Defensively we were coping well with Jai Sykes dominating his goal area and the back four of Brandon, Joel, Matthew & Jordan were keeping the Newington forward line quiet. In midfield with the absence of Edward Muldrew captain Reece Atkinson moved in to the centre midfield roll which he controlled throughout the match. Stuart Hannah & Noah Crenshaw out on the left wing and Left centre of midfield were looking strong & Jack Patterson in Right Centre of Midfield created problems for Newington all watch with his speed, Ryan Hannah on the right wing was looking dangerous everytime he had the ball. Up front was Reece Thompson who finally got his first start as he has worked hard and earned it. This was an evenly fought contest between two evenly matched teams but in the 18th minute Newington drew first blood which we all thought was offside but the referee did not give it?, 0:1. We kept working hard and created numerous chance but we had to stay focused defensively as well as this Newington side were dangerous going forward.
HALF TIME: 0.1
The half time team talk was simple keep playing the way you are and you will get back in the match.
Five minutes in it was time to for a change with Reece Thompson making way for Caleb Surgenorwho went on up front which is an unusual role for him. He had an instant impacted laying the ball through to Stuart Hannah coming in of the left wing but Stuart hit his shot just past the post. The next effort came in the 47th minute when the ball fell for Jordan Mulholland just outside the box but his effort went over the crossbar. We were on the front foot and we got a well deserve equalizer in the 51st minute when the referee awarded us a free kick about 26 yards out after Caleb had be fouled.Matthew Guest set the ball down and struck a fierce shot high into the net leaving the Newington keeper stranded, 1:1 game on. Heads were us and the boys believing in themselves were lifting their game as the believed their was an upset on the cards as they knew we went into this match as the underdog. We were now matching Newington for play and this was going to be an interesting last 29 minutes. Five minutes after we had equalised Newington got themselves back in front with a wonderful strike from at least 25 yards out that left Jai with no chance of saving it, 1:2 but all credit to my boys they kept their heads up and kept probing. We were forced to make a change in the 59th minute when Captain Reece Atkinson was struggling with a slight problem with leg, so he handed the armband to vice captain Stuart Hannah and was replace by young Ben Appleton who went up front and Caleb came back into a role he is more accustomed to in midfield. With 5 minutes remaining it was time to go for broke by removing a defender and going three at the back and an extra striker up front, so Joel Hill made way for Curtis Higgins who went into midfield and Stuart Hannah joined Reece Atkinson(who had came back on 5 minutes prior)and Noah Crenshaw up front as we went for all or nothing. It looked as though with all our gallant efforts we were going to fall at the last hurdle as we entered the final minute of the match but how wrong was i, Stuart Hannah collected the ball on the edge of the box as he lost the defender he was clipped and the referee award us a free kick just outside the box, Reece Atkinson stepped up to take it and sent his strike flying into the top corner of the net to the delight of his team mates, 2:2 extra time looming.
FULL TIME: 2.2
A quick drink and a chat before we get under way and get the shape back and we were under way in the first 10 minutes of extra time. The boys were now up for it and were now believing they could win this match and were creating good chances at the same time the defence were well aware that Newington can be dangerous.
HALF TIME IN EXTRA TIME: 2.2
The second period of extra time saw us take the game to Newington causing them all sorts of problem as Joel Hill was back on up front and they couldn't handle his strength but despite all their efforts and hard work it looked like penalties were on the cards.
So we were down to the dreaded penalty Shoot out and our penalty takers would be Reece Atkinson, Jack Patterson, Matthew Guest, Jai Sykes & Ryan Hannah.
Newington would take the first penalty which Jai Sykes pulled of a wonder save getting up to the top corner and putting it over the bar, our first penalty would be Reece Atkinson, normal never misses from the spot but this time he hit it straight at the keeper, 0:0 after 1. Newington scored their second,so up stepped Jack Patterson to slot his home, 1:1 after 2. Newington again scored their third and it was the turn of Matthew Guest who smashed his off the crossbar and in, 2:2 after 3. Newington scored their Fourth, so up stepped our goalie Jai Sykes who coolly slotted his in the net, 3: after 4. Down to one left each and the pressure was on both boys. Newington player stepped up and blasted his over the bar, so there was more added pressure on Ryan Hannah as he walked forward to take his knowing that he could win the match for his team. He composed himself and fired the ball home to win the match 4:3. His team mates were over joyed as they all ran towards him to congratulate him.
I would like to start by say thank you to Newington for a great match played in good spirits and certainly an advert on how to enjoy youth football, also thank you to their manager for is kind words at the end. To my boys you all did yourselves, parents & coaches very proud this was definatly the best football you have played to date the sheer fighting spirit got you through to the next round of the cup well done everyone.
Brilliant result, well done again!!
Such a match
Guys that was the best game I have seen in a long time. Deserved the win from the start. Well done