Goldsworth Park Rangers Tournament, Sunday 7th June: Pirbright Premier Under 11s – Tournament Winners
More glory and more silverware for PPFC U11s as they came through two dramatic penalty shoot-outs to triumph at the Goldsworth Park Tournament. On a glorious Summer afternoon it was another tremendous team effort from the boys; with Cally and Arthur displaying nerves of steel from the spot and Conor unbeaten in goal all afternoon.
Goals were at something of a premium all day, with the nine-a-side format and eight minute matches producing an incredibly tight competition. Indeed, there were seven goalless draws and only three goals in ten group games overall. Pirbright progressed in second place, drawing our opening three 0-0 against West Byfleet, eventual group winners Send United and then Sandhurst United. But our fourth and final game saw a crucial intervention from Arthur, who span and shot to dispatch a loose ball to give us victory against Curley Park Rangers. Defensively the boys were outstanding and they deservedly progressed to a semi-final against Berkshire County Youth Jaguars.
Extra time couldn’t separate the teams, with Pirbright coming closest when Asa’s shot came crashing down off the underside of the bar in the final moments. On to penalties then (the best of three); with the first two missed before Cally stepped up to put Pirbright in front with an ice-cool left-footed effort into the corner. Conor then produced an outstanding tip over from Berkshire’s third kick to send the lads into the final.
Send United were our opponents, who finished just a place behind us in the SPL and against whom we enjoyed two close matches in the league this season. This was another close affair, though the lads enjoyed a little more possession without creating too many opportunities. Again, extra time failed to produce a winner and so the final would be decided on penalties too.
Conor simply refused to be beaten, saving Send’s first two penalties whilst Cally again showed remarkable composure to steer home Pirbright’s first. It left Arthur with the opportunity to secure the team’s second trophy of the season. If he was nervous, it didn’t show – calmly converting to win the Tournament.
These boys have shown a lot of qualities this year: togetherness, determination and ever-increasing tactical awareness (particularly defensively). They also now seem to have developed something of a winning mentality. What was also great to see was one or two of the ‘unsung heroes’ of the squad have their moment – Thomas and Jonty’s cup final goals now followed by penalty heroics from Cally and Arthur along with brilliant individual tournaments today from Dean, Jack and Jacob. Mention too for Olly; so composed on the ball and just a great little footballer. But – as ever – this was another success built on their strong team ethic.
Well done Lee, Pete and the lads. Just one more day of football to go now (Ashridge Park next weekend). Whatever transpires, it’s been a lot of fun!
PPFC: Conor, Cally, Jack, Jonty, Adam, Thomas, Asa, Olly, Arthur, Adam, Dean
Group Stage: West Byfleet Scorpions, drew 0-0; Send United Hurricaines, drew 0-0; Sandhurst United, drew 0-0; Curley Park Rangers Vikings, won 1-0 (Arthur); Semi-Final: Berks County Youth Jaguars, drew 0-0 aet, won 1-0 on penalties; Final: Send United Hurricaines, drew 0-0 aet, won 2-0 on penalties.
There are some pictures of today’s terrific Tournament win on our Facebook Page.