Celebrations as BSCS Year 10 Boys Football through to final 16: Match Report

The BSCS Year 10 boys’ football team have sailed into unchartered water by progressing into the next round of the ESFA National Cup sponsored by Playstation. This is a national football competition which had over 600 schools enter back in September. TEAM BSCS are now into the last 16 and are just three games away from a trip to a prestigious Premier League or Championship stadium! Previous finals have been played at Pride Park (Derby), Villa Park (Aston Villa) and the Madjeski Stadium (Reading). The latest victory was against CTC Kingshurst Academy in Solihull. 

Last week Bradley Stoke Matters was asked to help source a sponsor for new football kit for the team to play their next opponent, which is Millfield away on 1st February.  Up until to this point they had been playing in borrowed kit.  We are pleased to report that within 24 hours of the plea going out, a sponsor was secured and a kit supplier found who provided the kit at cost.  Within a week the team were presented with their new kit, so they are all ready to meet Millfield!

Coach Randall would like to express his thanks: “Thanks go to Steve Cox and Stoke Lane U15s for the loan of a kit that made the boys feel professional and prepared. The squad also take great pleasure in thanking the Robertson family and First National Driving School for sponsoring our new strip that will be worn for the first time in the next round.

Huge thanks go to Mrs Warren and Andrea Grant from Bradley Stoke Matters for making this happen through Professional Sports and Fitness.”

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He has also just sent us the very exciting match report of their last game to share …

Match Report by Coach Randall:

The atmosphere on the minibus was one of quiet confidence; this group of footballers love to be given the role of the underdog. As Mr Young battled with traffic and torrential rain, the boys chatted and listened to some dubious music, as picked by DJ Jack Spark. Mr Randall was busy planning team tactics following a last minute reshuffle due to missing captain Dan Winstone and goalkeeper Jack Taylor through illness. Luckily, Dan Laver donned the gloves and Harry Goldspink stepped in as cover. Arriving at CTC Kingshurt Academy in Solihull just after lunch time, the squad carried out a quick pitch inspection of the newly laid 3G astroturf and knew that their slick passing game would be suited to this surface. Looking sharp in the warm-up, the squad knew that their dramatic late victory in the last round had given them confidence to give anyone a good battle – even a team with a rumoured number of Academy level players.

The home side started brightly, quickly putting us under pressure. Our back four found themselves dropping deep to defend their box, with our central
midfielders struggling to win second balls and get control of the game. Tom Wheatley expertly protected the colossal Spark and his reliable central-defensive partner, Matt Binding. Loui Ward and Alex Wells found themselves tucking in to narrow full back positions, creating a solid defensive shape that meant we survived the early period of pressure without conceding. After twenty minutes, Theo Cox once again proved to be the thinking man’s footballer by adjusting the shape of our midfield. Wheatley stepped out to engage their attacking midfielders, allowing the driving force of
the team – Lewis Bennett – to engage their deep-lying midfielder who until that point had pulled the strings. Once Bennett took up this advanced position, their threat was nullified and we began to retain possession and push our defensive unit towards the middle-third and half-way line. This in turn let the midfield compete for second balls and provide support for the front three. Ethan Tucker had done a great job in holding the ball up until this point, with Lewis Hedges producing defensive cover on the left.

The breakthrough came after twenty eight minutes with a perfectly executed counter attack. Once gain Spark won the ball in the air, with Cox picking up the second ball. A short pass to Bennett followed by a splitting through ball saw Enis Akgun through one-on-one with the advancing keeper. Akgun coolly slotted the ball into the corner and wheeled away in celebration. 1-0 TEAM BSCS.

We looked comfortable until half time, when a chance for rehydration and reflection let the team decide that we needed to play a higher line, move the ball quicker and keep Bennett in advanced positions. CTC came out firing and looked for an early response – backs to the wall time. Dan Laver proved his class with excellent footwork and handling skills as well as a few acrobatic saves for the on looking photographers! We dropped deeper once again, with Spark and Binding mopping up everything they had to throw at us. Wells’ pace was invaluable against a tricky winger, whilst Ward provided a great outlet with his accurate distribution. Playing on the counter allowed Hedges and Akgun to play around the central pivot that Tucker provided. Although they dominated possession, we looked assured in defence and dangerous on the counter – the perfect set when in the lead during an away knock-out cup tie. Hedges fed Tucker from a left-wing position with a superb in-swinger and the big man flicked the ball in to the net to make it 2-0! Injured full back Joe Rossiter – who came off after two minutes of the game starting – almost put himself out for months with an over-enthusiastic celebration! Once the boys realised the linesman had his flag up for offside they got back in to position to face up to another attack.

Jack Spark continued to dominate in defence with his aerial prowess proving to be a great asset. The slippery surface meant the centre forward was able to steal in front of a momentary slip and we conceded a penalty. Laver almost stopped the effort having guessed the right way but the ball just crept in. 1-1 with twenty minutes to go.

Legs started to tire with the momentum behind the home team. The back four stood strong and Laver continued to impress with his calm decision making. Spark stepped out of defence to fire a thirty yard rocket against their crossbar – it’s probably still rattling now. Duke Larbie came off the bench to provide a much needed lift in the middle of the park and was instrumental in guiding us through to full time with an all-action display full of running, tackling and energy. Extra time drained the energy of both teams in a cagey stale-mate where neither side wanted to over-commit at the risk of getting caught out.

Memories of a lost penalty shootout in the Year 7 semi-final of the South Gloucestershire cup began to surface as the referee blew the final whistle; Harry Goldspink stepped up to calmly slot the ball in the bottom corner to get us going. As their first penalty taker lined up, Mr Young uttered the following words: “It’s written – Dan Laver will save three penalties in a row.”As I had no fingernails left to chew, I just hoped he was halfway correct. Laver guessed the right way and saved neatly down to his right. Loui Ward stepped with fierce determination to send the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-0 in the shootout. Laver bounced calmly on his line and made eye contact with their star striker before diving low; the ball was put just above his body when he shot out his left arm to send it high up into the air. The ball bounced agonisingly on the line and trickled past the post. Ethan Tucker made it 3-0, meaning that if they missed the next spot-kick we were through to the last sixteen in the country. Once again the keeper went the right way and the boys were delighted, whilst I was stunned by Mr Young’s psychic abilities! Once respectful handshakes were over with, the squad celebrated with Dan Laver as the hero. From not being in the squad to match-winning performance it was easy to name him as man of the match, closely followed by Jack Spark.

We now face Millfield (away) in the Round of Sixteen on Monday 1st February.

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