Season round-up – Virus stopped under-9s in their tracks after reaching cup semi-final.
Barnard Castle FC Under-9s
AFTER two very successful seasons, losing three key players, the goalkeeper moving to outfield and a new manager, the season just ended was always going to be a challenging season for the under-9s.
The summer was a time for recruiting new players and appointing a new captain, then shaping the boys into a team.
It took a little while for everyone to get to know each other, identifying each player’s best position and determining the tactics that would be employed.
The team decided on two rules – respect each other and no talking when the coach is talking.
The first league game of the season went reasonably well with a comfortable win. However, the first game in the cup was a rude awakening when the boys came up against a well drilled team who physically dominated the game. The following training session focused on protecting the ball and the lads developing more resilience and holding firm when faced with such opposition.
Recruiting Steve Guy as assistant coach was one of the best decisions made and the season took off. The team started to play good attacking football but when needed they dug in as one and defended each other out on the pitch.
The team went to Redcar in the first round of the Challenge Cup on a freezing winter’s morning with a depleted squad of only eight players, losing another to illness in the first few minutes and going a goal down. They responded and their resilience shone through, winning comprehensively.
From there on, the team played really good football, respecting everyone but fearing no one.
The weather played havoc with the game preparation, but the team progressed in the Challenge Cup which culminated in a brilliant game against a Middlesbrough team containing a number of high level players. The lads went 1-0 down but struck back with a blinder of a goal to draw the match. The determination of this team to progress was clear as they stood tall and won on penalties, progressing through to the semi finals.
Unfortunately, as for all football teams up and down the country, the lads haven’t been able to play this game and see just how far the could of progressed in their inaugural season together.
Mel Thwaites, manager, said: “It’s been great to see 16 boys, pretty much strangers, come together as a real team – everyone of them developing game by game. A huge thank you to team sponsors this season – Harry Lincoln, Steve Atack, Footprint PR, Councillors James Rowlandson and George Richardson and Glaxo Smithkline.
“And finally a huge thank you to Paula Shepherd who keeps our team together doing everything from recruitment, signing on day, ordering kit, providing half time oranges and full-time chocolate and team photographer.”