Success for the Penn & Tylers Green FC Under 12 First Team
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Penn & Tylers Green FC U12
1st TEAM 2017-28 SEASON REVIEW….. AND A FINALS DAY SUCCESS FOR THE CLUB!!
So, another season has passed by in the blink of any eye; have we really just completed 35 or so training sessions and played over 20 Sunday morning games since mid-August 2017? My football notebook says we have.
The Penn & Tylers Green FC U12 1st team had a testing start to the season; the move up to new schools in Year 7 affected attendance at training, the regular goalkeeper had left to join an Academy and two of the squad from 2016-17 had relocated, leaving only a small squad of 12 with no recognised 1st team standard keeper to cover the games (until the regular one returned for the final 5 games). They played well at times in most of their opening games but by October half-term had won four and lost three of their first seven games; a set of results which really didn’t reflect their ability. Silly mistakes and a failure to convert chances were the root cause of two defeats, whilst an all-round poor display caused the third to Chalfont Wasps.
October half-term provided a welcome break and a decision to move training to a Friday night and restrict it to 60mins improved attendance and helped them focus. As we began the next cycle of fixtures in mid-November, I’m not sure anyone could have foreseen what would follow for the remainder of the season. I’d like to say that it was perhaps a touch of managerial greatness, but really it was all down to hard work by the players and also the commitment of their parents to the training and games given that we are a small group - and okay just a little coaching of the positives perhaps!
They immediately set-about putting right two of the early season home defeats by playing well and winning convincingly 5-3 and 5-1 away at both AFC Lightning and Bedgrove respectively. The winning run continued into 2018 with consistent, well organised and skilful performances; we even had some compliments from most opposition managers along the way! The 5-1 and 3-1 wins at home to Holmer Green and Aylesbury Juniors stand out. They also ended the season by putting right the third early season defeat, beating Chalfont Wasps 2-1.
The Easter holidays provided time to reflect on what they had achieved as a group - though I gave them only one Friday off training during the holidays - no room for complacency boys and less time on the Xbox!! They had topped their 2017-18 U12 SBMSC division winning 14 of their 17 games in total, winning the last 10 in a row and scoring 48 goals in those 10 games whilst keeping three clean sheets. A place in the U12 SBMSC Divisional Final was just reward for their efforts.
And so to that Final: A game at Thame Stadium against AFC Lightning on a cold and windy Sunday 29th April 2018. Trying to tell a group of 12-year-old boys to focus and remain calm at a Stadium Final was never going to work; so, they were prepared and sent out with the simple message to be excited and enjoy the challenge, but to be vocal and organised at all times on the pitch and play to their strengths.
They started well with some early attacks at pace and were given a dream start in the 4th minute by Rowan Duff; he had clearly spotted the keeper was playing on the edge of his box so picked the ball up in midfield, travelled a few yards, looked up and then sent a 25-yard chip into the back of net against a strong wind. A simply outstanding piece of skill at any level. 1-0 to Penn. We remained on top for most of the first half but only kept the lead at half-time thanks to a great save from our keeper Tommy Dymott in the 28th minute.
Playing with the wind in the second half and some half-time substitutions by AFC Lightning seemed to unsettle Penn. AFC Lightning were on top straight away and they inevitably equalised fairly quickly in the 32nd minute from the penalty spot. However, Penn didn’t buckle; they got a grip and started to play again and re-took the lead 2-1 on 39 minutes courtesy of a second well-taken goal from Rowan after good pressing from Isaac Plunkett.
The middle period of the half passed by with AFC Lightning playing very well, stretching play and spreading the ball wide whenever they could, but without really creating more than one good chance. Oli Layfield had a shot just over for Penn in the 39th minute and Tommy made another good save in the 43rd minute. As we approached the last 10 minutes I thought; “we are okay now; don’t do anything silly boys and we will win this”. So of course, a defensive mistake immediately followed in the 51st minute giving another penalty to AFC Lightning! Thankfully it was blasted against the bar - perhaps Tommy may have even got a glove tip to it? It remained 2-1 to Penn.
Penn had a good chance to make it 3-1 on 54 minutes after great work by Daniel Connor resulted in Rowan shooting just wide. The final minutes then passed by with Oliver Kenyon as centre back marshalling his defence and calmly bringing the ball out, as he had done all game and has done superbly for Penn all season. An edge of the box injury time free-kick provided the last action of note, but it was dealt with by Penn. A minute or so passed, then the referee’s whistle blew and yeeessss Penn had won the final; 2-1.
A great feeling as a manager in what is a big game for any team at this level of football; your team has turned up, showed you that they can play football, that they don’t buckle when put under pressure and they have simply won the game on a day when winning really meant something to them all. Credit to AFC Lightning U12’s - they behaved impeccably towards us and played well on the day. However, Penn & Tylers Green FC U12 1st Team deserved this Final win and also their successful season given all the effort and hard work they have put in as a relatively small group since mid-August last year. They are a great bunch to manage and a real credit to both the football club and their families.
Well done to all the Penn & Tylers Green FC U12 1st Team boys: Daniel Connor (C), Tommy Dymott (GK), Oliver Kenyon, Lewis Mediratta, Jack Watson, Kieran McCleverty, Rowan Duff, Isaac Plunkett, Charlie Simons, Monty Davis, Max Alexander, Oli Layfield and Lewis Dale - you deserve your winner’s medals!
Andrew Watson, Penn & Tylers Green FC U12 1st Team Manager