The Junior Hoops Saints u7s showed heart, courage and skill in the final Seeding Tournament at Witton Park.
Drawn in the Black League the Saints featured in a number of blockbuster games in their quest to top the group, claim top seeding for the league ahead and start the season with a trophy.
First up was merely an appetiser for what was to come later in the morning as the Saints took part in a keenly contested 0-0 against Oswaldtwistle. A game of few chances, the Oswaldtwistle keeper made a smart save from a Teddy one on one late on to keep the game scoreless.
Game two was against Wilpshire Wanderers and two goals from Teddy including one straight from a corner helped the Saints march on to face Pendle Forest, the surprise package of week 1. In what was expected to be a close affair the Saints flew out of the blocks with early goals from Oakley and Seb. Alfie controlled the midfield throughout and caused havoc with his long throws. A cheeky steal from Seb on the line was closely followed by sublime skills from Oakley before a final goal from Seb completed his hat trick.
The final group game was against a strong Rishton side. It was finely poised until the last couple of minutes when Oscar freed Teddy down the right and after beating his man he whipped a teasing ball across the face of goal. The team’s super poacher Leighton timed his run to perfection and settled the game from close range.
Top of the group without conceding, unfortunately goal difference didn’t count and it was play off time against Oswaldtwistle.
The Saints started slowly and fell two goals behind to great strikes from Oswaldtwistle. After shaking off a knock Teddy returned to the pitch to make a tackle in the Oswaldtwistle half and calmly run through on goal to slot home with gout minutes remaining. Game on!
The match went from end to end as the Saints chased an equaliser. A wonder save from Seb and a last ditch tackle from Oscar after showing pace to burn to chase down his man kept the game alive before Teddy was fouled just inside the Oswaldtwistle half.
Tension was building and it was even felt all the way to Palma airport where the gaffer was on his way back from a pre season scouting mission.
Teddy lined up his free kick from distance and his fierce strike was saved by the keeper but Oakley slammed home the loose ball to send the game to penalties.
Both teams scored two and missed one of their first three pens.
Sudden death awaited.
Oswaldtwistle struck first before Alfie blasted home for the Saints. By now finger nails were being chewed and parents were looking away. One person who didn’t feel the pressure was Leighton De Gea. Flinging himself two his left he tipped the second sudden death pen onto the post to set up a winner takes all penalty. He removed his gloves and set himself. Silence fell at Witton Park. Leighton took a deep breath and then slammed home to take an extremely hard fought win for the Saints.
On to the league we go!