Our first competitive tournament...ever. We decided to enter the Lambourn tournament in the hope of playing against teams we didn't know much about, and to spread our journey outside of Swindon. We were only able to take 7 players to this tournament, and so Sol, Marcus, Mason, Omaree, Brodie, Rhys and Sean were selected.
The format was 6 group games, 3 pts for a win, 2 for a score draw and 1 for a 0-0 draw. Then the top 2 going into the final. We won our first game 2-0, which got us off to a great start. Lots of energy, lots of pressing. We have been working lots in training in space off the ball and helping each other out by moving into space, and this was performed well, with all 7 boys participating in the opening game. We then went on to draw the 2nd game 1-1. This game was an odd one, as we were showing signs of tiredness, which was strange only being our 2nd game. But this was an afternoon tournament, so it was already a long day. We got the lads together though, and we all agreed that we know we can play better, and we know we can press better, together.
The 3rd, 4th and 5th game showed us improving, with tremendous pressing from the front to the back helping one another out. We drew 0-0, and then won 3-1, and 4-0 respectively. Sean pulled off a very good save in the 5th game. Brodie played in midfield for the 5th game, which is unusual for him, but clinched 2 lovely goals. Mason in the 5th game was on fire, and was able to provide a couple of great assists, but his closing down and releasing was what was so impressive in this game. Marcus in the 4th game was very clinical in his finishing, and was able to score many goals from some very good football from sol and omaree. Then the 6th game unfortunately came with our first defeat of the day, losing 2-1. We played some excellent football in this game though, and we didn't really have anything negative to say, other than the result. What was so impressive is how the boys dealt with the defeat. They knew we played well, and that was what essentially mattered. Which was great.
Nevertheless, the results from the 6 games meant that we had made it into the final, and to play against Blunsdon, the team that had just beaten us. This was the boys' first "official" cup final. 7 year old boys, lots of people watching, parents watching, and about to enter into their first cup final, and what an honour it was to witness their professionalism at such a young age. They showed great respect for the game in this match. Prior to the start they were all sat down behaving remarkably well, and enjoying each other's company. As we entered the pitch, they all shook the ref's hand, then instinctively 'huddled' up, and it was great to see, that this football team has also formed a great bunch of mates. When the starting squad was announced, the boys on the bench didn't show disappointment, but instead showed encouragement, and this was very mature and lovely to see.
We played this game like we had something to put right. The boys were obviously not happy being beaten by Blunsdon in the final group game, and this was probably the best performance we have ever seen from the U7 Robins. Sol scored a cracking long range shot, and then quickly scored another to make it 2-0. Rhys then pulled off a wonder save, which for a 7year old was the best I have seen, keeping us in the game. Brodie kept spreading the ball from the back and it was not long until Omaree and Marcus got 3 between them and we were 5-0 up. We brought Sean and Mason on, and made it clear that we wanted to keep our shape, at the same time as pressing, and we maintained this. We kept the opposition mainly in their own half, and the energy from the boys was a joy to behold. Final whistle goes, and parents and coaches jubilant. Our first trophy win, in a competitive competition.
There are a few points that I would finally like to highlight, which made us coaches so proud. The behaviour and professionalism of all boys, was something to be proud of. The encouragement, involvement, understanding, and general support from the parents was perfect, and we thank you for that. Finally, the style of football played was immense. The energy, pressing and shape was exactly what we were hoping for, and was at times faultless. These boys are a joy to work with, and are all so talented in their own individual ways, but compliment each other when in the team. Congratulations boys, you truly deserve this win.