Y6 Football – Northern Finals
There has been a lot going on in the world of Year 6 football over the past few weeks! Since getting knocked out of the Northern Regional finals in the Danone Nations Cup the team competed in the North Eastern finals of the National League Trust Under 11 Cup. Representing York City, the boys played against teams representing Hartlepool, Gateshead, Bradford Park Avenue and Harrogate. the boys performed incredibly well, winning all of their first five mathes, which won them the league with a game to spare! There were some thrillingly close matches with every single member of the squad playing a huge part in our success.
This success meant that the boys qualified for the National League Trust Under 11’s Cup Northern Final in Bradford, where they were set to compete against the winners and runners up from the North West and Midlands… With a match at Wembley against the champions of the South on the line!
The nervous excitement was palpable as the boys arrived to school early on Friday and boarded the minibus – usually a noisy crowd, there was a quiet focus that took over the team. On arrival in Bradford it was clear that this would be the boys’ biggest test of the season as the quality of the opposition was clear – we were facing boys on the books of such footballing giants as Liverpool, Aston Villa, Everton, Man Unt and even Wigan!
The first match against tournament favourites Tranmere started brilliantly as we took a 1-0 lead into half-time thanks to some fantastic work down the left from Jimmy and a trademark powerful finish from Timmy. Tranmere came out of half-time with a point to prove, and scored an unstoppable long range effort almost immediately. The lads regrouped and battled through an even half of football against an astonishingly good side, until heartbreak in with the last kick of the game, as Tranmere scored with an incisive counter attack.
There was no time to feel sorry for ourselves though as Solihul Moore were next. There was no trace of disappointment as the lads stormed to a decisive 4-0 victory, brushing the midlanders aside with clinical professionalism. 4 goals picked straight out of the top drawer from Jimmy showed the rest of the tournament that we were here to do more than make up the numbers.
Next came a difficult 0-0 draw with Chester, in an even, if unremarkable game contested in the midfield where neither goalkeeper was forced to work too hard. It was a match in which Adam & Marcus shone.
The draw with Chester secured a second or third placed finish, which was enough to qualify for the semi-finals against the other second or third placed team (Tranmere had run away with the group stage by this point). The final group game saw us playing against a resurgent Tamworth, who were battling for fourth place and the last semi-final spot. A horror-tackle on midfield lynchpin Adam (who until this point had been our player of the tournament both in midfield and filling in in defence to cover an injury to Matthew) disrupted our shape, and despite clawing a lovely second half goal back, we succumbed to a 2-1 defeat which did not reflect the amount of possession or quality that was on show from our side. Spirits were not dampened though, as the boys knew that they had already booked their place in the semi-finals against Chester.
Before our semi-final Tranmere – the favourites for the tournament – suffered a shock defeat to Tamworth, leaving the competition there for the taking. Our match with Chester felt like a de facto final at this point – the quality that both teams had shown throughout the tournament meant that the winner of this match would be heavy favourites against Tamworth. As the match progressed, Hutton Rudby found it difficult to get the ball out of their own half – defending incredibly well and showing more fight, determination and teamwork than they had at any point in the season. Cian pulled off some frankly unbelievable saves, Matthew (despite carrying a nasty leg injury picked up during what can only be described as a logic, physics and death-defying block / tackle in the Tranmere match) was a rock at the heart of our defence, not letting anything or anyone past him. Wilbur provided some much needed outlet, and ran himself into the ground supporting the attack and defence in a man of the match performance. Timmy & Marcus had a difficult afternoon in midfield, finding themselves having to support the defence more than playing the attacking football they are used to. Having said that they both gave brilliant accounts of themselves and fought to win every ball that came their way. Jimmy provided the much needed outlet that we needed up front. Despite the team’s efforts the match ended 0-0 and went to the dreaded penalties. The bravery on show from the boys here was outstanding but it wasn’t to be as we were beaten in sudden death. Credit must go to Chester who won the final and booked their place at Wembley.
The effort on show from the lads was absolutely brilliant, from everybody that has been mentioned so far, to the lads that didn’t get as much game time on Friday, but still played a huge part in getting us to the Northern finals, Henry, Jamie & Lewis you have all been fantastic. As have Cian, Matthew, Adam, Timmy, Marcus, Wilbur & Jimmy. Finishing as the third best Primary School Football team in the North is not a bad accomplishment for a little village school in North Yorkshire! Well done boys!