Adam O'Neill Writes:
The U12s fielded two teams at this weekend's tournament in Luton.
Both teams started out slightly weaker than they should have done with Team 1 dominating possession and territory but unable to finish all the opportunities they got, though still coming away with a respectable 1-0 win and 0-0 draw. They then remembered how to shoot resulting in subsequent 5-0 and 2-1 wins. They finished top of their league taking them through to the semi-finals.
Team 2 didn't start at full strength either, struggling to find their way to the opposition's goal. Although, they were also able to prevent the opposition from scoring, finishing as 0-0. The second game looked more promising from the start with Daniel Foster managing to find the back of the goal. It looked like a certain win until Leighton Buzzard were able to capitalise on their extra outfield player (playing without a goal keeper) and pull us apart to score a last minute equaliser. We found our form in our next game, pulling the ball wide to ship it up to Dylan Buckle up front who managed to put 2 past the keeper - finishing 2-1. Team 2 finished the day on another 0-0 draw which put them 2nd in their league, pitching them against Team 1 in the semi-final.
The semi-final was very closely fought with Team 2 managing to hold out several phases of attack from Team 1 and make a few counter attacks of their own. However, Team 1 managed to work their way through the solid defence to put two unanswered goals away, putting them in the final with Team 2 into the 3rd/4th play off.
Team 2 put up a stunning performance against Leighton Buzzard in the play off. As LB were still playing with no goal keeper we went all out attack and got in the D several times but LB managed to put in some brilliant saves. The 12 minutes went without either team scoring, so we went to 5 minutes of golden goal extra-time. A win looked on the cards throughout, especially as Dylan received another quality ball in the D, although the result shot was millimetres wide. In the end it was called as a draw for 3rd as both team went through all their players in a series of penalty strokes. I know I'd be biased but I'm sure all the parents would agree that we were by far the better team and were unlucky for it to result in a draw.
Team 1 faced Tring in the final, a match which finished as a 0-0 draw earlier in the game. Although, everyone had played several games and improved vastly since then. Both teams went into the game, nervous, but desperate for the win. An early goal from Josh Stewart settled the nerves and set us up for an intense game. But, in the end, our defence and Sophia's goal keeping proved to be too much for Tring though as they were unable to score for the rest of the game.
So a great effort from all with Team 2 securing a joint 3rd place and Team 1 winning overall.
Both teams though showed massive improvement throughout the day and were playing some quality hockey by the end of it which was great for myself and Keith as coaches to see, and for the parents I'm sure as well. Overall a brilliant day filled with brilliant hockey for all.