The year 7 football team are the new Trafford League Champions, beating Ashton On Mersey 6-2 in the final. A huge congratulations to all the boys involved for a fantastic team performance. Special thanks to all the parents and teachers who have supported the boys throughout the season.
In their first year at Blessed Thomas Holford, the year 7 boys team made their first final. They played Urmston Grammar in the Semi Final and ran out comfortable winners. It was a performance that was required and gave the boys a massive confidence boost going into the final against arch enemies Ashton On Mersey. We had only played Ashton once before, in the first round of the Trafford Cup away.
It was a tough game on a big pitch, in quite difficult conditions. In the first half we dominated but couldn’t put our chances away, and they caught us on the break to make the score 1-0 at half time. In the 2nd half we couldn’t get our passing together, conceded another poor goal and then went behind again through a very dubious offside call. We scored a late consolation goal but the damage was already done and we were out of the cup at the first attempt.
This gave the final more meaning as we wanted revenge and I could see in the boys eyes they were up for it. I decided on a team talk before travelling to ensure they all knew their jobs and what was expected when we reached Altrincham Boys School (where the game was being played). We arrived early, had time to relax and then started to warm-up. As Ashton arrived we were raring to go and I knew they were ready to put in a big performance.
There was a great turn out from parents who were keen to watch an exciting game and hopefully see some goals. From the kick off we started well, put in some good tackles and played some nice football. Leading from the back with Jordan in goal, followed by a back three of Flanagan, Shields and Murphy.
The midfield consisted of Bentley, O’Shea, Martin and Gwyer with Johnson leading the line up front. On the bench to start was Deasey, Holder, Hobson and Mason. Ashton were trying to utilise their pace up front by playing balls over the top, however this had little effect as Jordan was quick off his line and the back three were in good communication and quick to react. All four midfielders were finding time on the ball and Johnson was working hard in the channels to make space.
The first goal came from a free kick on the left which was drilled across by O’Shea. Johnson managed to get a good connection and the ball flew into the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance. With Ashton being pushed further and further back the 2nd goal was coming, and it came in the form of a well worked move. Some nice interchange from Martin, Bentley and O’Shea led to the ball landing at Gwyer’s feet. He turned nicely and rifled a shot which was definitely on target.
The Ashton defender who had been one of their strongest players tried to get something on it and the deflection took the ball into the opposite corner. It was at this point at 2-0 that I felt we were massively on top, everyone was working hard and Ashton didn’t look like scoring. Unfortunately, a mix up at the back and some quick thinking from Ashton’s midfield led to a chance being created, which was dispatched nicely to make the game 2-1 and put a bit of pressure back on.
However, we didn’t let this dampen our spirits and again started to play some good football. With 10 minutes left O’Shea picked the ball up on the left and drove at the defence, taking on two players and then shifting the ball to his right when just inside the box. The defender committed, stuck out a leg and the penalty was given. As O’Shea had won the penalty he was given the honour of taking it, which he did into the roof of the net to make the score 3-1. We didn’t even give Ashton time to dust themselves down before we were on the attack again.
The ball came out form the back with Murphy and Flanagan, was then played through midfield and ended up with Johnson. He moved his feet well to give himself the best opportunity to strike the ball with power. To my delight the ball whistled through the air and landed in the bottom corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance and making the score line 4-1.
At this point Holder and Deasey entered the fray to add some extra legs and bite in the tackle. Both were involved from the start and had some nice touches and worked hard putting the opposition under pressure. As the half time whistle sounded I couldn’t have asked for a better team performance. I told the lads to keep the pressure on, not let up and try and keep a clean sheet for the 2nd half. Shortly after, Mason at right back was given a run out, and seemed to fit in nicely to his position, looking comfortable on the ball and winning some headers.
We weren’t as ruthless as the 1st half but were still creating chances and limiting Ashton to bits and pieces. Jordan was called into action on a couple of occasions but was more than up to the task. The team still looked strong, marshalled by Flanagan at the heart of defence. Midway through the half Ashton struck again following a long ball, giving Jordan no chance, this made the score line 4-2 and gave them some hope. Again though we hit straight back and within 5 minutes had won a dangerous free kick on the edge of the box. O’Shea stepped up and hammered the ball into the top right corner making it 5-2. This took a bit of pressure off and allowed the lads to play football again without too much worry.
It was nice to give Hobson a run out towards the end, and he managed to make some good interceptions and give the back line a new look. The game was a little scrappier towards the end but there was still time for Jordan to make an excellent save with his leg and Holder and Bentley to test the Ashton keeper out. The final goal came through O’Shea to give him his hat-trick. At the time I remember thinking he should have passed as Gwyer was in a much better position. Unfortunately for the Ashton keeper he didn’t get his angles right and the ball squirmed under his body to make it 6-2, just in time to hear the final whistle sound and the celebrations start.
If asked for a Man of the Match I would have to say the cliché line of “the team” because that’s how they played, working for one another and not giving up. It’s been a great season, with definitely some highs (winning the league cup) and some lows (losing heavily in the Catholic Schools Semi). The lads have stuck together, found that winning formula at the right time and haven been an absolute credit to the school. They should hold their heads high and be excited for what the new season has to offer, playing 11-aside on bigger pitches. I am confident that if they stick together, work hard and believe in themselves then they will go on to have another fantastic season. It’s been a pleasure lads!
Mr Thorpe (Year 7 Manager)