Virus lockdown stops U9s in their tracks after reaching cup semi final
Junior Football – Barnard castle U9s
AFTER two successful seasons, losing three key players, the goalkeeper switching to outfield and a new manager taking over, the season recently ended was always going to be challenging for the U9s.
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, identify each player’s best position and determine the tactics that would be employed.
The team decided on two rules – respect each other and no talking when the coach is speaking.
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 coming up against a well drilled team who physically dominated the game.
The following training session focused on protecting the ball, 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 well.
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.
The responded and their resilience shone through as the team recorded a comprehensive win. From there on the team played really good football respecting everyone but fearing no one.
The weather played havoc with 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 the 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.
Manager Mel Thwaites 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.”
He said a huge thank you to team sponsors this season Harry Lincoln, Steve Atack, Footprint PR, Councillors James Rowlandson and George Richardson and Glaxo Smithkline.
He also thanked Paula Shepherd who keeps the team together doing everything from recruitment, signing on day, ordering kit, providing half time oranges and fulltime chocolate – and team photographer.