Cray Wanderers Youth Extra – U12s win pre-season tournament
The Cray Wanderers U12s warmed up for the new Selkent League season by winning the pre-season competition at the Marathon Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon. Despite some poor weather conditions, the Wands were victorious with Tony Russell describing the action.
We met up at 1pm and finally left there at 7pm it was a very long day for the boys and those watching. It was a 9 aside tournament each match, 15mins per game with the teams in two groups of 6 .
After 4 games played we had won 3 & lost 1 with it all coming down to the last game. Three of the teams had the same points so it looked like goal difference was going to decided who went into the semi-finals. Cray was the last game on so we knew other teams had a better goal difference so needed something from the game. The trouble was we were playing the very impressive Dulwich Village side who had eased past everyone.
With the two other teams from the league cheering on Dulwich we were very much the underdogs! It was an excellent game played out in a real midfield battle with Cray more than matching them. No team had a shot on goal until the last few mins then all of the sudden the game burst into life. it was Dulwich who broke the deadlock with a fast counter attack Cray responded and pinned Dulwich back throwing everything at them, Cray continued to push forward and with just 30 secs left on the clock from a Henderson corner the ball fell to Nathanael on the edge on the box and he let fly and the ball went into the right hand corner sparking wild celebrations from both players and parents alike! Cray were into the semi-final!
So Cray marched onto the Semi-final to play the team who finished top of the other group. The team was FC Tempo a team who had won every game and not even let a goal in but Cray had the wind in their sails and with confidence high from the last game and Cray once again were involved in a good game of football.
FC Tempo started the game fast & was moving the ball around nicely on a wet surface but couldn’t get through the Cray defence marshalled well by Nathanael & backed up by Max, once Cray had ridden the initial onslaught Cray started putting the pressure back on FC Tempo & with Elijah & Archie now dominating the midfield Cray had muscled full control of the game and a goal looked on the cards at any minute. It duly come with 6mins left on the clock, Josh who was having an excellent game up front turned his man and the covering defender brought him down for a free kick just outside the box.
Up stepped Nathanael the hero from the last game who curled the free kick into the top right hand corner to spark more celebrations. I’m not sure who was celebrating more the parents or the players at this point!! Cray stayed on the front foot and continued to press for a second. Henderson hit and lovely free kick from out on the right that beat the keeper only for a defender to make a great headed clearance off the line, it was all Cray now and the 2nd come with a minute to go. Josh again tormented their defence once again and having gone past two defenders the 3rd one brought him down for a penalty. Up stepped Max to give the keeper no chance smashing it high into the top left hand corner. So Cray make the final!
The final – Cray vs Junior Reds
You could just see the confidence in the Cray team now was so high they were on roll. Cray started the game on the front foot and never come off it the whole game. Cray were moving the ball around and controlled the game with some nice football throughout, all they needed was a goal to show for it. The Junior reds keeper was having an outstanding game, first denying Blu then Elijah, then Josh went through on goal only to be denied again. Blu continued his personal battle with the keeper hitting a great shot that looked destined for the roof of the net only for the keeper to pull off another good save. Then with three mins left Cray played the ball out from the back and into midfield to Archie who played a nice one two with Elijah, Archie then switched the ball out to the over lapping full back Victor, he dropped a shoulder and went past he’s man and got to the byline and put a lovely ball over for the on rushing Blu to sweep the ball into the far corner and with Blu finally winning his battle with the Junior reds keeper the tournament was Cray’s
So after 6 hours of football we had some very tired and wet players and some parents who needed a lie down. With the league starting next week this tournament proved an excellent exercise for the team and you can feel a real togetherness amongst the players. The team have added Matthew in goal and Victor and welcome back Chris who had a year out, all three are very good players who will only add to an already good side. Frank is back next week from his broken arm so it is a very exciting time for this team. Playing good football & never giving up is what Cray are built on and this team did just that so congratulations to all involved