We arrived in Bathurst with an air of anticipation, the boys have been training hard but nothing compares to the thrill of a pre-season tournament to get the competitive juices flowing.
The boys were pumped and parents, friends and family very excited for their first tournament. Our pool was a mix of AYL & NPL2 teams, a great challenge for what we have been working on in pre-season training.
The comp was tough, an 8-0 win on the Saturday and a gutsy 2-0 win over the Western NSW Mariners saw us top our pool and proceed to the Semi Finals.
We came up against Albury in the Semi’s. They’d also enjoyed an undefeated run through to the finals series and our boys rose to the occasion with a comfortable 3-0 victory.
It was a tense wait for the Grand Final, scheduled for a 5pm kick off. It had been a long day with our first game at 7.30am that morning.
Our opponents were Monaro Panthers, a Canberra Premier League team who’d not been beaten for 20 months. A tough first half saw us level at half time, 0-0. We spoke about composure and patience during the break and to the boys credit they continued to play our possession based style against an opposition that were playing long, both from the field and keeper. Our backs were outstanding and we continued to play assertive football and had a couple of quality chances in the second half, but couldn’t quite put one in the net.
10 minutes of extra time – Golden Goal, a heavy load after such a rigorous weekend. The first five minutes of extra time yielded no result. 3 minutes into the 2nd period of extra time and staring down the barrel of a penalty shoot out, our midfield took possession of the ball. A quality pass through to Marko – positioned just on half way, and with a great first touch he then delivered an even better ball to an overlapping Oggy, and we were shaping up to score. Oggy broke clear from the defence getting to the by-line where he dropped a pin point cross for Marko to finish a great team goal. WOW!
It was an exciting end to a great weekend of football from the boys. From a coaches point of view, the build up and finish in the final was so exciting as we had worked on this exact play during the week.
This awesome team did not concede a single goal for the entire tournament!
A big thankyou to all the parents, my managers Sue and Steve and a special thanks to my assistant Ky who had the experience of coaching his first game whilst we were away – he now thinks this is an easy game!!
Congratulations to Marko who was named U13’s player of the tournament – how they picked just 1 of our boys for this award is beyond me – I’d have to give out 16 trophies! Most importantly a big congratulations to all the boys for a tremendous weekend of football.