The Cup Finals were held this weekend at Hereford United F.C and a feast of football was witnessed by everyone there. 9 months worth of planning went into 5 matches that were to showcase what this League is all about i.e. good passing football played in the right way, and wow the matches surpassed our expectations.
We all wanted to see exciting games with goals and every match delivered excitement in abundance. We witnessed everything that you would see on Sky Sports or Match of the Day on a weekend without the controversies of red cards or dubious "did it cross the line" goals.
The opening match on Sunday was Worcester City F.C v Gloucester City F.C in the Under 12's final and this match set the tone for the weekend. The pitch was in fantastic condition (thank you Hereford United F.C ground staff) and both sets of players settled quickly into an attacking style of play built around a passing game. The worry was for under 12's on such a big pitch that they will tire quickly or resort to knocking the ball long and chasing it.
U12 Photo Gallery and Match Report
Neither of these things happened as both teams played a great passing game and we were treated to some great passes from flicks to one twos all over the pitch. Worcester City took the lead through a penalty in the first half and it wasn't until mid way through the second half that a fantastic pass set up a lovely finish from Gloucester City to draw level. At full time the score was 1-1 so in our first ever final we went to extra time and Worcester City early won another penalty which sadly they did not convert this time. Within a couple of minutes another incisive attack by Gloucester City allowed them to take the lead 2-1 and then from a perfectly struck free kick 40 yards out went 3-1 ahead. Credit to Worcester City who roared back with attack after attack and just before full time pulled a goal back to make it 3-2 but the whistle was blown shortly after and Gloucester City were the Under 12's Cup Final winners.
Next it was the Under 13's final between AFD Bath City and Burton Central. Sitting 1 & 2 in the League this was always going to be a good game between a free scoring Bath team and a Burton team that don't score as much but don't concede many - so something had to give!
Burton started very brightly and found themselves 1-0 up through a good break and well taken shot that the Bath keeper couldn't quite get to. Shortly after a little hesitancy allowed Burton to make it 2-0. Bath meanwhile were starting to get their attacking game going and were unlucky to find a Burton keeper in fine form. The game from both sides was played in the right manner with fast flowing attacks built upon quick movement of the ball on the ground. But it was Burton who made it 3-0 before half time to seemingly make the game safe. Bath now needed an Istanbul style revival (or as we were in Hereford) Hereford bull (I know bad joke but someone had to say it) and looked like they could do it when the second half started with them making a lot of good passing movements finishing in good chances on goal - but sadly their normally reliable attack couldn't capitalise and it was Burton who bagged a fourth to make the game safe at 4-0. The game was thrilling and both teams played great attacking football but it was Burton who were the Under 13's Cup Final Winners.
U13 Photo Gallery and Match Report
Next up was the Under 14's Cup Final between Kidderminster and Burton Central. Kidderminster having beaten Burton twice this season had every right to be confident going into this game but it was Burton who shocked everyone there with their style of play. Quick passing and high pressure pushed Kidderminster back and it was Burton who took the lead in the first half after 2 amazing saves from the Kidderminster keeper in a row. Burton worked hard against a very well organised Kidderminster team and the game was very tight with chances coming at both ends. Kidderminster in the second half got their passing game going and started to push Burton back and from a shot come cross finally got the equaliser with less than 10 minutes to go. This game was played at such a pace that it was breathless to watch and the levels of both teams was amazing so you almost wanted extra time just so we could watch more of it.
But with extra time looming Kidderminster stepped up the pressure and it was a moment of individual brilliance that won the match when a Kidderminster playing beat the Burton defence to fire past the keeper and allow Kidderminster to be crowned the Under 14's Cup Final Winners.
U14 Photo Gallery and Match Report
On the Monday it was the turn of the Under 15's & 16's so it was with great excitement that we kicked off on Monday with Oxford City against Tipton Town in the Under 15's cup final.
Oxford City started the game very brightly and played very fast forward moving football and looked to penetrate the Tipton Town defence as quickly as possible. Tipton Town looked to build slower so it was a fascinating match to watch. The first half was even with both teams exchanging attacks and periods of dominance but no goals but the second half started with a bang as from Oxfords kick off Tipton won the ball and scored to make it 1-0. Oxford worked hard to get back into the match and got their goal mid way through the second half. The game went to extra time and it was Oxford who got the winner in the first half of extra time to set up a nervy finish but ultimately they held out for the win and were crowned Under 15's Cup Final Winners.
U15 Photo Gallery and Match Report
The last game of the weekend was the Under 16's final between Oxford City and Burton Central. The top two in the league didn't disappoint and gave us an absolutely thrilling final which went one way and then the other before a thrilling end. Burton had the majority of the pressure in the first half but didn't capitalise due to some great goalkeeping and defending from Oxford. Early in the second half Oxford got into the game more and were awarded a penalty which they converted to make it 1-0 and shortly afterwards a great headed made it 2-0 to Oxford. Burton undeterred by going 2 goals down kept up the pressure and amazingly by full time had tied the match to take the third final of the weekend go to extra time. Both teams battled in extra time but neither could find the winner so in our first ever cup final weekend we had the drama of a penalty shoot-out. Burton went first and scored and Oxford had their first one saved and then everyone under lots of pressure stepped up and found the back of the net to give Burton the title of Under 16's Cup Final Winners.
U16 Photo Gallery and Match Report
Man Of The Match Awards
At the Cup Finals on Sunday and Monday our trophy sponsors Pro Active Teamwear wanted to recognise an individual from each Final that were stand out players and influenced the match. They kindly provided some Man of the Match trophies to recognise these individual players and the winners are on the link below.
Man Of The Match Awards
Our huge thanks go to everyone involved with the teams that played - you were a credit to this league. Thank you to Hereford United FC and their General Manager Terry Emmett who was fantastic during both days. Thanks to Andy Peyton and Wayne Henley who helped me so much on both days to organise things and make them run as smoothly as they did.
Now can't wait for next year!!!
Junior Premier League