Stamford U12 5 Yaxley U12 3
AFTER twice being rescheduled, Stamford’s tie with Yaxley would determine whether the young Daniels would be promoted at the end of the season.
Previous games between the two sides had been close with a draw in the league and a cup clash settled by penalties, and the players showed signs of nerves early on. But as the players settled both teams started to move the ball about with more purpose.
Stamford got the first break with a good run from Matt Wells and a fine finish into the roof of the net.
Yaxley fought back quickly and only great goal keeping from Isaac Selwyn kept Stamford ahead.
A counter attack by Stamford left Ollie Wood with an opportunity to score against his old team which he put away confidently.
And a few minutes later Wood put another past his old team to take Stamford into a comfortable three goal lead.
However Yaxley fought back to secure two goals before half time to set up an exciting second half.
The nervousness returned to Stamford’s players after the restart but once again Selwyn saved the day along with some timely interceptions by Fin Allen.
Gradually Stamford began to put Yaxley under pressure and after several missed opportunities Reece Oxborough struck Stamford’s fourth.
Yaxley launched attack after attack against a tired looking Stamford and their determination paid off with their third goal.
As the last few seconds ticked away, Stamford won a corner and Fin Loomes’ deep corner floated into the top right corner to seal the match.
Stamford’s manager, Paul Walker, got carried away with the celebrations and was reprimanded by the referee for being on the pitch but shortly after the restart the final whistle blew and Stamford could celebrate promotion to division one.
SUCCESS is often measured by the winning of trophies and medals but although the U11s didn’t win any silverware this year, their coaches are rightly proud the side.
Survival in the top league against all the odds despite having lost half the side, including the number one goalkeeper, during the pre-season is an impressive achievement.
The replacements were boys who had little or no experience of competitive football but, combined with the remaining stalwarts of the past three seasons, they showed tremendous fighting spirit to gain enough points to avoid relegation
They only had the bare number of players available for most of the season and faced much stronger sides so their survival is testament to their loyalty, spirit, determination and great character after their early heavy defeats.
Coach Dave Jordan said: “If medals were awarded for these wonderful attributes, these boys would be deservedly and proudly displaying them now. Well done and thanks boys.”