VALE OF WHITE HORSE PRIMARY SCHOOLS’ FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
Saturday 21 May 2011
ESFA INTER-ASSOCIATION 7 A SIDE CHAMPIONSHIP
At Watford Football Club Training Ground (University College London Playing Fields)
The VALE were in Group A with Liverpool (North), Hull (Midlands) and Sutton (South East) which on paper appeared to be a much stronger group than Group B consisting Chester (North), Redditch (Midlands), Jersey (South West) and Stevenage (South East).
The VALE’s first game was against Sutton on the only pitch where the wind was blowing directly down the pitch. With the wind behind them Sutton had plenty of attacks but both teams found the conditions difficult. The very firm pitches also made life far from easy. Taylor on three occasions had to be at his best to keep out efforts and the speed of the Sutton wide players caused some problems but the VALE maintained their shape. They turned round with the score at 0 – 0.
In the second period the VALE struggled to use the wind to their advantage but were denied on two occasions by fine saves by the Sutton keeper the second of which from Buchanan he pushed out and a defender almost inadvertently scored an own goal but was pleased to see the ball go for a corner.
The somewhat scrappy game ended 0 – 0.
In their second game the VALE boys were up against Liverpool and were immediately put to the task with their pace and sometimes overly aggressive play. The VALE kept their shape well but struggled to compete in midfield and turned round level.Taylorhad made one excellent save in the first half and was soon called upon to do so again. The longer the game went on the more the VALE came into it and the more frustrated the Liverpool lads became and began to get very ‘niggly’ with each other. The VALE could not however take advantage of the disharmony in the ‘red ranks’ and had to be satisfied with another 0 – 0 draw.
The final group game was against Hull who had beaten Sutton but had lost to Liverpool and therefore a win was required. In the wind assisted first half the VALE dominated to such an extent that Taylor was completely untroubled in the VALE goal. The ball was being played about with great confidence but the elusive goal was not to be despite efforts from Buchanan and Kerby both being saved on more than one occasion and the former having an effort whistle a layer of paint away from the upright. The VALE had a series of corners but could not capitalise on any and turned round at 0 – 0. In the second half they were unable to dominate as they had in the first and Hull were able to hang on for a draw, 0 – 0.
In the semi-finals Liverpool beat Jersey1 – 0 and Hull beat Stevenage 1 – 0 without too much trouble and thus a repeat of the group game was set up. After a very hard physical game in which neither side got a shot on target the final ended 0 – 0 but Liverpool won the ‘penalty’ shoot out 3 – 2.
Liverpool were the only unbeaten side on the day (other than the VALE (!)) and the VALE were the only side to have reached the National Finals and not to have conceded a goal throughout the competition (County, Regional and National Finals).
VALE SQUAD: Tom TAYLOR; Nathan BAKER; Harry SNOZWELL; James DARLING; Ashley STEVENS (Captain); Joe LILLEY; Jake DENTON; Kieran KERBY; Jack BUCHANAN.