TWBS have been reigning champions of the District Cup for half a decade and it was fair to say we wanted to retain our title. Not only was it our last game of the season but it was the last game our year 11 team would every play together. This team has been together since year 9 and has achieved a lot over the three years. We did the treble in year 9, the double in year 10 and we wanted our first bit of silverware from this match.
We arrived at Langley Academy on Tuesday 8th May where the match would be played. Due to it being a Cup Final the ground had to be neutral. We warmed up slowly but surely because we didn’t want to overdo it as it was very hot.
We have played Wexham before and had won 3-1 on that occasion, so we were firm favourites. However nothing could be taken for granted as they had shown that they can score against us and especially because we didn’t have our starting goalkeeper. Special mention to Conor Ball who stood in for Joe Whiter as goalie. We were also missing Noel Fortune, Jasper Maytum and Ignas Jonatis who had all played integral roles in the team throughout the season and deserve a mention.
We got kicked off fairly quickly but the game started fairly slowly. The first half was very even and it seemed as if we had gone into the game with too much complacency. It seemed as if the fact that we were favourites made us think it would be a walk in the park but it was anything but that. We had had a few nice balls in behind the defence from our solid midfield of Matt Knight, Ethan Parsons and Alex Mitchell. Our defence had stood firm and didn’t leave Conor with much to do. Doug Munro and Sam Meakes had done well in the first half.
We got our breath back and re-evaluated the situation. We needed to keep the ball on the deck and play to their weaknesses which was their fullbacks. We had a rejig of positions as we needed to change it up a bit. I was moved central and Spencer Walsh was moved into central midfield and Ethan was moved onto the right wing. Alex and Doug also swapped places. They had one good number 10 who got into a few good positions who we knew was their major threat.
The second half started much quicker and we were utilising our wingers with help from our full backs, Beau Slyfield-Brown and Will Brown who put in an excellent shift. Jude van Spall found himself in the opposition’s penalty box at an extremely acute angle. He was able to whip the ball into the back post for any attackers to meet, however the ball was able to drop perfectly in to the top right hand corner. It was one of the best goals ever scored by the school team. Even if it was supposed to be a cross!
We grew in confidence after that goal and were able to capitalise on more opportunities. Doug was able to get one on one with the keeper after a great chipped through ball from our right winger Ollie Norley. Doug was able to slot the ball into the bottom right corner. 2-0 to TWBS.
The game went on and it seemed we were in control. I found myself in the 6 yard box where I managed to toe poke it through the keeper’s legs with a sliding effort. But, whilst I was on the floor their central defender decided to stamp on my leg whilst I was still down. I was not overjoyed with that act of unsportsmanlike conduct so I decided to appeal to the referee - the boy was warned for stamping on me and later picked up a yellow card.
Being three goals up we thought the game was won but they managed to get a goal back. Score now 3-1 to TWBS. Fortunately, we were able to strike back quickly where I tapped the ball to Jude who was able to make a perfect finish into the top left. 4-1 to TWBS.
However, another lapse in concentration saw them score again to make it, 4-2 Final score. This made no real difference to the result where in the end it was a fairly emphatic victory. It was a sold performance from all and great way to end the season and end our time as a team.
I can proudly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed playing alongside this group of players. It has been an honour. And to those who choose to move schools, we wish you the best of luck in your footballing career. Uno Animo.