Robins Red U8's first trophy event of 2015/16 took us indoors for a Futsal Tournament, which was very welcome following the drop in temperatures! Placed in a very competitive group, and clearly motivated by the prospect of silverware, the first match against Highworth set the scene for the rest of the tournament with the boys soon to establish themselves as the comeback kings. A bright start from both teams saw a talented Highworth side take an early lead but this was soon cancelled out by a fine finish by Mikey Mills from a tight angle. As the clocked ticked down the Robins spirit came to the fore as the boys managed to conjure a late winner through Fraser to take all 3 points.
Our second match paired us with a strong Wroughton side who we know from previous encounters would provide stiff opposition. The two sides matched each other stride for stride but Robins once again found themselves a goal behind. However the boys worked excellently as a team to force themselves back into the game with a well taken equaliser from Fraser. The contest remained even throughout with neither side able to force a winner and a point apiece was a fair result.
Our third and penultimate match vs Ferndale Red was an exciting affair between two committed sides intent on attacking football. Once again Robins found themselves conceding first and had to work hard as a team to stay in the game. That hard work paid off when Fraser, for the third game in a row, found the back of the net to pull the teams level. However a spirited Ferndale side responded immediately to restore their lead, but once again the boys in Red & White wouldn't allow the scoreboard to dispirit them and dug deep. With less than 2 minutes on the clock Mikey grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck using his power and skill to steal possession, surge up the pitch and set up goal-king Fraser up for an excellent finish. Not content with that, with time running out Mighty Mike repeated the trick but this time held on to the ball to finish the move he started to grab a dramatic victory. The ensuing celebration from the boys on the pitch and those on the touchline was evidence of the great togetherness this group have developed.
The boys entered their final match against Croft knowing that a win would secure their position at the top of the group. Intent on not letting the opportunity slip, the boys started on the front foot and their early domination was rewarded with Fraser (who else?!?) depositing an accomplished finish with his "weaker" left foot into the bottom corner (his second left foot goal of the day!). Croft came back into the contest but committed defending and work rate from all players helped maintain the Robins lead. With the boys unable to grab a second from several fine breakaway moves, the lead remained slender but the boys displayed great confidence on the ball and commitment to their roles to keep Croft at arm's length to secure a well-earned victory.
So it was the Robins boys who returned home triumphant with trophies held aloft, but all five teams in our group deserve praise for producing some excellent football in a very tightly contested group that was played in a great spirit throughout. Fraser's goal scoring prowess and some dazzling skills from Mikey grabbed the headlines, but the tournament was notable for vital contributions from all players throughout as a real TEAM effort won the day.
The idea of the "Trophy Events" is an FA initiative to allow younger age groups to gradually get used to playing competitive football. Previously, teams would go from playing two years of development/friendly games where no results or League tables were published, straight into a 20+ week season-long league competition. The aim of the Trophy Events is to introduce the competitive element gradually and intersperse competitive fixtures with development league fixtures.
So this season the U10s and U9s age groups will play 3 Trophy Events each consisting of 3-4 weeks of competitive football, making between 9-12 weeks of competitive football across the season as a whole, while the U7s and U8s will also take part in 3 Trophy Events, but shorter in duration, each comprising just two games. The aim is to give the younger age groups a taste of competitive football, but without the pressure a full season-long competition can somtimes exert on what are still very young players.