Congratulations to the Cray Wanderers U11s Lions who for the second season in succession have won the ESF Butlins Festival of Football Tournament down in Bognor Regis. A great achievement and here coach Steve Redman gives his account on two days of cup tie football with the Wands victorious. Pictured are the team prior to the tournament, after the competition and Callum Redman and Steve Owen with the impressive trophy.
Following the team photo’s, the u11’s took to the field in beautiful sunshine to defend the trophy they won in 2017 at u10’s level. Cray Wanderers topped their group, scoring an incredible 37 goals in 6 games and keeper George Poole only conceding a penalty. Below is a summary of the scores for the weekend:
Saturday 5th May
Cray Wanderers 6-0 Moneyfields
Boldmere St Michaels 1-11 Cray Wanderers
Cray Wanderers 9-0 Billericay Colts
Burton 0-0 Cray Wanderers
Sunday 6th May
Cray Wanderers 2-0 Oakley
Wendover 0-9 Cray Wanderers
Carshalton 0-1 Cray Wanderers
Goal scorer: Perkins
Cray Wanderers 2-0 Curley Park
Goal scorers: Drysdale and Butcher
The u11’s faced a stern test in the Semi Final, up against a Carshalton side that were unbeaten in their group, not conceding a goal in the process. Cray piled on the pressure from the off, creating chances for Drysdale, Cook and McCullum but were denied by stops from the Carshalton keeper. The Cray defence were resolute as Redman, Perkins and Dzontoh made a number of important interceptions in the scorching sunshine on the south coast. Fowler and Butcher were holding their own in midfield and were giving the platform for McCullum and Drysdale to attack. 0-0 at the break but soon after the restart, Fowler burst forward only to be brought down 20 yards from goal. Perkins stepped up and curling at unstoppable free kick into the top corner, the players celebrated whilst coach Steve Owen as the defence for concentration. Keeper Poole pulled off saves in quick succession with his feet and hands to ensure Cray made the final.
The final was played against Curley Park and was an exciting match with Cook almost opened the scoring with a header. Elueme and Drysdale also tested the keeper and the pace and skills at various times by McCullum, Perkins and Redman were creating opportunities but they just couldn’t get the breakthrough. Again 0-0 at the break and following injuries to Mahmut and Fowler, no replacements could be called upon. However, they certainly contributed with a number of goals and assists in the group stages. Soon after the restart, Drysdale then out muscled his marker, sprinted away and calmly slotted home to put Cray into the lead. 5 minutes later, Cray won a corner and Redman’s corner was headed home powerfully by Butcher to seal another tournament win.
The team will receive an invitation to play at England’s training ground in July against all the tournament winners across the UK, France and Holland. They will no doubt do Cray Wanderers proud..!
Squad; George Poole, Zuriel Elueme, Callum Redman, Andy Dzontoh, Oliver Perkins, Kaya Mahmut Jack Butcher, Ben Cook, Kieran Fowler. Joseph McCullum, Rashaard Drysdale
Well done to all the team on what must have been a very hot two days of football and scoring so many goals and only conceding one goal and that a penalty is some achievement. Good luck at St Georges Park in July.