Football tournaments are always an experience – whether you’re a player, manager, parent or referee – it is a hectic 3 or more hours of almost endless football, with quickfire games all the way through with little wait in between. However not everyone has experienced these tournaments, and especially those at a youth level, therefore I will take you through what the 2019 Woodley United Football Tournament was like for the Woodley United U13 Hurricanes.
Although many of that day’s games on Saturday June 1st began at 9am sharp, the U13 Hurricanes’ first game wasn’t until 9.20, when they faced Barton Rovers in Conference C, on Pitch C, where they stayed for the entirety of the Conference. And it wasn’t the best start for the boys in blue – Barton’s forward weaved his way through the Woodley backline and scored a superb goal. After a very early goal conceded, Woodley tried to get back into the game, but after pressing high up the pitch they were caught on the counter, and it went 2-0 to Barton. The game ended shortly after, the result staying 2-0 to Barton.
After a disappointing result in their first game, Woodley were hoping to bounce back in their second game at 9.45 against Whiteknights, which started much more positively, but the opposition still had their chances – one was cleared off the line by the Hurricanes. Woodley also had their chances but failed to convert, but a more positive 2nd game ends 0-0.
The boys were now looking to build on the 0-0 draw and try and win their first game and boost their chances of qualifying for the Cup. But similar to the first game, Mytchett took an early lead, and again Woodley had to go out searching for a goal, but on the counter, Mytchett socred another as a Woodley midfielder attempted to challenge the forward, but unfortunately slithered the wrong side of the post. Mytchett then scored another, the final nail in the Woodley coffin. This all but left the Hurricanes in the Plate.
Their final conference game took place at 10.40 against talented academy side Focus Football, who took advantage of an unmotivated Woodley side and easily beat the Hurricanes 2-0, although Woodley did well to keep it at 2-0. After a disappointing conference, Woodley picked up only 1 point from 4 games.
After 20 mins to recuperate and prepare for their Plate knockout game, Woodley Hurricanes played Woodley Saints at 11.15. Woodley had a much better start, and they had the ball in the back of the net after a string of saves from the Saints keeper, but the referee pulled the play back after what she deemed was a foul against the Saints. Woodley, understandably outraged, switched off and allowed Saints to counter and score a fortunate goal, Woodley felt so hard done by and understandably. The anger then spilled out between parents; Hurricanes manager outraged at the celebrations by Saints parents. Saints then went on to score another and the game ended 2-0. This game was a metaphor for their entire tournament; they had the ability to create and score, but heads went down, and in tournaments it is something you cannot allow to happen.
So there it is, a frantic youth football tournament through the eyes of the Woodley United U13 Hurricanes, and although this story was one of missed opportunities (which I am sure many other teams experienced this weekend), we should give a mention to all of the teams who won their respective trophies over the weekend.
Updated 10:32 - 14 Jun 2019 by Mark Rozzier