Penn & Tylers Green FC

U12 Colts Team win Home Tournament

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Penn & Tyler Green 2017

Andreas Latta

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Finally, after years of trying, Penn & Tylers Green FC’s colts team Real Penn, secured victory having lost in the final three years before

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With the completion of the league fixtures ending the week before with success for the 1st team in the U12's Green Division cup final, management and player focus turned to the 6 a side season. .

Having been placed in a tough group against strong local rivals and a team from St Albans of unknown quality, the team always knew it would be hard to qualify for the next round and a good start was required. It didn't start well when usual striker George Darvell turned up sporting a sore ankle, fortunately for us he's also a very strong and capable goalkeeper!

First up Downley Dynamos, choosing to play up hill, Penn were unable to capitalise on their early dominance and almost lost in the dying seconds but fortunately Downley's striker miss hit his shot wide. A nil-nil draw. Next up Risborough Rangers, one of our bogey teams, always a tough fixture and one that inevitably found us on the losing end. Not today, after some early exchanges, Penn started to move the ball round and finally broke the deadlock with a neat finish from Amy Woodhead. Amy followed up with her 2nd of the match not long after. In the final seconds and with the game won Jenson Marks scored with a low drive in to the bottom corner. Three nil. For the 3rd match Real Penn played Haddenham Yellows. With a goalkeeper already standing at 6ft he filled the goal and had a throw that Steve Backley would've been proud of. A strong, physical team playing to the strengths of a goalkeeper throwing it pretty much the length of the field it was always going to be a tough fixture. Unperturbed to this tactic, it was Penn that had much of the ball but they just couldn't find a way passed Haddenham's giant keeper. Nil-nil again. Three clean sheets, but only one victory to show for their dominance.

Next up a team from St Albans whom we knew very little about. Penn were sluggish from the start and allowed St Albans to play some good football. After three minutes Real Penn's defence was beaten. A cross into the box saw Penn lose concentration and George unable to collect, the ball found its way into the net off the St Albans strikers head. But wait, the referee has disallowed it! An infringement that only the referee saw. Penn got out of jail with that one.

This scare served to galvanise the team, and with some excellent defending from Jack 'Des Walker' Darvell, the team soon found themselves ahead with a well worked move that found Charlie Simons in space. The finish was all about composure, a good 1st touch and an accurate, yet powerful finish. The tails were up. Having not yet found his shooting boots, Daniel Broderick thought whatever Charlie can do I'll go one better. Moments later Daniel unleashed a left foot rocket from distance that beat the keeper in the far corner. Playing some really good team football another goal was likely and would certainly help should qualification come down to goal difference. As the game entered the final minute a free kick was awarded to Penn. Amy Woodhead placed the ball down and was urged to shoot. Jenson then decided to make a nuisance of himself and stood directly in front of the goalkeeper and using his strong frame to hold off a defender. The goalkeeper now unsighted, allowed Amy to pick her spot and despatch an inch perfect strike into the top corner. A good, encouraging three nil win. Somehow the team still found themselves 3rd in the group but knew that a draw would be enough to get through.

Into the final game, a game that Flackwell had to win to qualify. A good technical team that play some nice football and generally very tough to break down. Despite some early exchanges by both teams, nerves were clearly showing. That was until some nice play from Penn saw Daniel Broderick break through and score. He gave the Flackwell goalkeeper no chance. This led to Penn taking their foot off the gas, and Flackwell sensed the opportunity to attack. Three or four chances went begging before finally their pressure told. Hassling the usually solid Jack, led to the ball being lost and the inevitable equaliser was scored. Were Penn going to throw this away? Both teams kept plugging away but no more goals were scored and with that the Real Penn kids advanced into the semi-final as group leaders. Goal difference did count! Totteridge FC up next, a big, strong team, would we cope with their ability to mix it up and shoot from distance. Sitting deep and allowing Totteridge possession only a good double tackle and clearance from Ellis Marshall kept the scores level but also led to him withdrawing early through injury. On came Jack, no worries. Despite sitting deep, the team were able to counter attack. Jenson was starting to grow into the game and with the ever-influential Matthew Wellington again showing his nimble foot work and excellent technique, the pressure was building on the Totteridge defence. Five minutes in and Daniel having found his fighting spirit, dispossessed the Totteridge midfielder and found Jenson down the left wing. Drawing the defence with him, Jenson held up the ball before seeing good friend Matthew in acres of space on the right of the pitch. A well weighted pass found Matthew with just the keeper to beat. A good touch on the move and a finish with aplomb. One nil Penn

Would lessons be learned from the Flackwell match…As the game progressed the Penn midfield began to drop deeper and deeper inviting pressure from Totteridge. With one telling pass the Totteridge striker was found free on the left and struck a hard shot into the bottom left corner.... Saved! George reacting well and saving with his feet. Despite the pressure Penn were standing strong, not panicking and looking to play to feet still. Amy marshalled the midfield, timing her tackles well, holding the ball up and drawing fouls to take the pressure off. Still looking to play on the counterattack, the players were starting to lose a little focus and began ball watching. One more moment of lapse found a Totteridge player free at the back post only for George to make a great save before 'Des' and Daniel cleared. The final whistle went, on to the final.

One thing to be said was the attitude of Charlie Simons, in such a tight game it was hard to make a substitution. He didn't come on but supported the team throughout. An apology was duly made to him but he said not to worry... Great act of sportsmanship! Into the final..... Haddenham Yellows again! Confidence was high, legs were tired. The only question was how do we beat the giant keeper?

In a game that needed us to keep the ball, changes were made. Matthew moved to the left, Charlie came in on the right, Amy still holding in midfield, big 'Des' at the back and Jenson 'Alan Smith' Marks up front. George 'the cat' in goal, now smiling after his semi-final saves. Again, Penn continued to play the ball around nicely, keeping hold of it when necessary and not doing anything silly. The game ebbed and flowed with no real chances as both teams held well defensively. As time went on Penn started to take control, Matthew and Charlie exchanged a few passes just beyond halfway. Matthew now on the ball, looking up and passing to Jenson in the penalty area, the ball bobbled around, surely the chance had gone. Jenson somehow kept control, having now wrong footed the defender, swept his left leg around. Did he put enough power on it? Did he strike it well enough? It seemed like forever, like the slow motion actions scenes from films..... Its heading for the bottom left hand corner... But wait, has the keeper seen it? He's been difficult to beat all day.... GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL! It's in the onion bag! Jubilation erupts! Can we hold on.... Players are now beginning to puff out their cheeks, red faces, tiredness creeping in. Substitutions are made... . Daniel for Matthew, Ellis for 'Des' . The last couple of minutes seem an age. One last attack from Haddenham, Ellis comes across, nothing silly now, he kicks the ball to safety.... Peep, peep, peep! There it is, the ref blows his whistle. We've won the cup! Played 7, won 4, drawn 3, lost none. 9 for, 1 against. Team: George, Jack, Ellis, Amy, Daniel, Charlie, Matthew and Jenson

A great day all round. Great football from all. Teamwork, passing, supporting each other. You've made us all proud. With Real Penn winning their final, the 1st team also made theirs. Would it be a double of victories for the U12's? Again, having beaten some tough opposition along the way, the 1st team eventually succumbed 1 nil to a very good team in Sun Sport. That said the football the boys played was excellent and each individual should be extremely encouraged by their efforts. Some tired legs today I'm sure. A very positive day for the U12's across all three teams. Thanks also to the coaches for their efforts this season... Andrew, Dave, Mark, Gary and Rob.

Scott Marshall, P&TGFC U12's