The Junior Hoops U7 Saints took part in the Interpro Christmas Tournament this Sunday at the Blackburn Soccerdome. Pulling in teams from across the Lancashire, the Tournment provided a festive feast of football for the Saints before they celebrated their first year together as a team later that day.
Drawn in Group C, the Saints faced off against two new opponents in Chorley Wanderers and Mill Hill and previous tournament rivals, Ramsbottom United.
Game one was against the Wanderers and the Saints customary blitz was on show. From the kick off Teddy pressed and harried the Chorley defence into a mistake before calmly slotting home when one on one with the keeper. The goal was quickly followed by second. Playing with a calm assurance at the back Seb won the ball and strode out of defence before playing in Oakley who slammed home.
The Wanderers battled back with a goal of their own before the skills came out to play. First it was Oakley with a ball roll past the defender and a powerful finish before Teddy skipped past two defenders and fired home. Oakley scored again before Leighton turned provider with some dazzling footwork to break free of the defence and set up Oakley again. Next it was Teddy’s turn to turn provider as he crossed for Matthew to slot home from bandit distance before Teddy rounded the game off with a fine solo game.
With confidence high the Saints marched on to game two against Mill Hill and again the goals were spread out across the team. Teddy and Leighton linked up brilliantly on four occasions and with Huey marshalling the defence Seb moved up the pitch to get in on the action with two powerful finishes of his own. Teddy hit two with his left before a fine display was capped off with a landmark goal for Huey. After breaking out of defence in the last minute Huey was brought down 10 yards out on the right hand side. Dusting himself he lined up a rasper of a free kick which arrowed into the bottom right hand corner to cap off an excellent display.
The final group game was against Ramsbottom with the winner guaranteed a place in the semi finals as group winners.
The Saints we bolstered by the arrival of midfield powerhouse Alfie who made his mark in the game with two goals in a matter of minutes.
Oaks got the Saints off to strong start before Teddy doubled the lead. Leighton and Teddy then combined again down the right hand side before teeing Oakley up for his second of the game. Rammy battled back with two goals of their own to leave the decider finally poised. Enter Alfie! After strong work from Teddy down the right to get free of the defender he pulled the ball back to the penalty spot and without breaking his stride Alfie finished with aplomb into the top left hand corner. Within minutes he had his second this time latching onto a through ball from Leighton before Teddy rounded the game off with two solo goals.
Next stop the Semi Final against a Newton. What started as a cagey affair as both teams worked each other out soon exploded into life as Teddy scored a quick fire hat trick. Oakley then got in on the act before Newton pulled one back and began to attack with more frequency. Seb was a rock in the defence, reading the game with style to win the ball whenever it was played through into the danger zone. With 4 minutes remaining on the clock, Seb won yet another tackle before marching up field to slam home from distance. The Bandit then capped off the performance with his traditional predatory finish from 0.1 yards after a cross from Teddy.
Unfortunately for the Saints the final was to prove a game to far. Up against Walshaw, it was the Bury team’s turn to win the spoils after the Hoops beat them earlier this year in the Ramsbottom Cup. Goals from Oakley and Teddy weren’t enough as Walshaw played some brilliant football and were worthy winners.
The U7s have come a long way in a short space of time and can be extremely proud of the football the played on the day and across 2019. Here’s to an exciting year in 2020.
Merry Christmas Saints fans. C’mon the Hoops!