Summer Extra-Curricular Sports
|Wednesday||Tennis: Year 7, 8 & 9
Cricket: All year groups
|Thursday||Athletics: All year groups|
As tens of people headed towards the Walton Hall Sports Centre complex, they could not have been prepared for the excellent, tense ridden game of football they were about to witness from these two young teams.
Heenan started the brighter team with some excellent interplay that saw forward Kenny Kalashnikov rifle in a bullet like shot that whistled past the upright. Despite this early pressure, the WDS defence remained resolute and Kieran Osbourne, in particular, was solid at the back for the team in blue and yellow, with no nonsense defending reminiscent of the great Terry Butcher!
Exauce Baruc had a great chance to open the scoring but just missed the opposition goal. Exauce was exhausting the Heenan defence with his pacy runs and the defenders looked worried every time the young lad got the ball. WDS ‘keeper, Tom Leach stopped everything that was thrown at him, as every shot stuck to him like….well….a leech!
A large contingent of West Derby friends, family and staff had gathered at the ground and were soon warmed up and cheering on their team with great gusto. The team responded and it wasn't long before Luka Vasco-Snow found his feet and encouraged his brothers in arms to take up the battle. Like the North Sea at Blackpool, ‘twixt the seasons of Autumn and Winter, the tide had changed and it was West Derby who started to take control, with Owen Griffiths looking lively up front.
Just as WDS looked like they’d be heading into the interval on top the curly haired kid, Heenan winger Perry Perm, burst through on the right wing to drive forward and curl a beautifully judged shot past the inspirational Leach. Despite this setback, the Year 8 boys responded like giant responding type things and Griffiths pounced on a defensive error to drive lob the ball over the despairing Heenan ‘keeper Nudger Puddington.
1-1 at half-time would’ve been good but Mr. Zach’s teams are made of sterner stuff than this and the tenacious Connor Pye took his pie and ate it by latching onto a neat return pass by Owen Griffiths and wasting no time in crossing, sorry, striking the ball across the area where it ended up in the back of the net. Joyous celebrations ensued as WDS went into the break 2-1 up.
Half-time: West Derby 2 Cardinal Heenan 1
WDS came out of the traps with a rampaging, exhaustive run from Exauce as he cut through the Heenan midfield and rearguard like the proverbial knife through butter. Unfortunately, Exauce backfired at the last minute, as he was tackled by Heenan defender Alistair ‘Bite Yer Legs!” Crippleton, a throwback to the days when centre halves ate raw meat at half-time instead of the now customary caviar and sliced oranges! The challenge clearly rattled the young WDS forward.
Young Gabriel McGinn was having a great game at right back. Diminutive he may be but his heart was big and he wasn’t giving Heenan left-winger Jez Corbyn a sniff! WDS were on the up and when a free kick was awarded on the right, Liam Irwin swung in a high ball. Puddington did well to tip the ball onto the bar and the ever impressive Pye was there to gobble up the chance.
Heenan looked desperate as they resorted to having a pop from the halfway line. Goalkeeper Leach was laughing that much at the effort he just about composed himself to pick up the ball as it trundled towards him. 3-1 up with twenty minutes to go. What could go wrong?
Whether it was complacency, or the fact that the WDS boys were clearly tiring, a sea change became apparent as Heenan bravely fought back and started to expose holes in the WDS defence. The pace of the wingers started to tell and even a series of substitutions failed to hold back the advancing Heenan troops as they started to gain territory in the WDS half. At times, only the excellent Leach, nicknamed The Bank, because he ‘saves’ so much, stood between the opposition and a number of goals. Sadly, finally, the defence was breeched as a deft run from Derek ‘The Dribble’ Matthews forced a gap to open up and he coolly slotted the ball home.
The WDS lads seemed paralysed, stuck in a moment they just couldn’t get out of (thanks, Bono!). Before you could say, “Blooming Ada, they’ve scored again!”, they scored again. 3-3! Bite your nails time for the young players on the pitch.
The WDS nerves were starting to fray. Young Baruc was lucky to avoid a caution after responding to a nasty challenge by Matthews and, as Gary Barlow lookalike P.E. teacher Mr. Jones astutely observed, the momentum had swung.
As the game moved into its final stages it was Heenan who were looking the most likely to succeed. However, a resurgence of the valiant WDS rearguard ensured that the scores remained level, though how Heenan’s Kalshnikov failed to fire and make the score 4-3 with an open goal beckoning was beyond anyone!
Was this a good omen for the West Derby boys? Did portent suggest that their name was already on the Cup? Only extra time would provide the answer.
Full-time: West Derby 3 Cardinal Heenan 3
Mr. Handihill and Mr. Donga, part of our reporting team on the line, discovered via assistant coach Liam Frasier that Mr. Zach and assistant manager Mr. Byrne had decided to adopt a 4-4-2 formation. Sadly, it may as well have been any other formation as the way Heenan were playing it didn’t matter.
It was all the team in red and black. Their tallest player, Tommy Toaster popped up at the far post to head the ball back in and Kalshnikov finally hit the target and delivered his daily bread to this time actually make it 4-3, as he should have done at the end of the ninety minutes.
Leach continued to make save after save. Osbourne was like a brick wall at the back but the ever energetic Heenan finally overpowered the tired legs of WDS and a neat move and a finish from Heenan left-winger Corbyn finally put paid to the brave West Derby boys.
A late penalty miss from WDS didn’t matter. The whistle blew as soon as the ball was in play again.
A defeat this may have been, but the boys will learn from this. What has to be recognized is how well they played the game, competitive but in a good spirit. There were several outstanding performances. Leach, in particular, was superb, and got the reporting team’s Man of the Match.
There will be other times for the Year 8 boys. They are young, they’re learning and they have great potential. Hopefully, we’ll all be turning out to support them in future years.
Unlucky, lads. This should make you all the more determined.
Final Score: West Derby 3 Cardinal Heenan 5
WDS started the game a little nervously, but soon settled to create a few early chances as their forwards settled and started to probe the SFX defence. But for the SFX goalkeeper, Ivor Safsettahands, WDS could have been ahead by two or three goals. Lewis Kristiansen, in particular, was making a nuisance of himself as he passed with authority and made important tackles in areas where others feared to tread. Despite being clearly the better team, the boys trudged off at half-time with the scoreline still goaless.
Team manager Mr. Zack encouraged the boys to start the second half by pressing more, getting the ball in the opposition half and to play their football from there. Unfortunately, the best laid plans don't always work and after a hurried back pass that bobbled and went over the WDS goalkeeper's SFX took the lead. For a second or two the heads appeared to go down, but with encoragement from the sideline and with a great team spirit the boys refused to succumb to this most unfair of setbacks. Again, the SFX 'keeper was superb, making a series of fine saves. It looked like it wasn't going to be the visitors' day.
Then the cunning tactical mastery of former National Cup winner Mr Zack took over as he made a change to the formation. WDS employed the old fashioned 4-4-2 sytem to make headway in this frustrating second half. Exauce Baruc was pushed forward, to support Owen Griffiths up front. This paid off soon after as Exauce took a chance to level the scores at 1-1. WDS continued to press and SFX must have been wondering how they weren't five or six goals behind at this juncture.
With ten minutes left, as the nerves were becoming ever more fraught, the ball dropped to Conor Pye on the edge of the eighteen yard box. His neat first touch took him into the danger zone and he danced around a defender, looked up and cooly slotted the ball past the heroic Safesettahands to secure a much deserved 2-1 lead for the visiting youngsters.
As the game drew to its conclusion WDS looked like they may well pay for missing a couple of easy chances, as SFX came into the game more in a desperate attempt to claw back a goal. However, WDS deservedly held on to win and take their place in the Liverpool Cup final.
This was a great performance by the boys that showed the importance and value of pulling together as a team. Lewis Kristiansen was given Man of the Match for his all round inspiring display.
Good luck in the final, to all the Year 8 team.