The U9 football team have had an incredible year on the football pitch and had put themselves in a unique position to take extraordinary honours this week. Unfortunately, the ball did not run their way in the ISA Cup Finals on Wednesday and they went into the final game of the season against Branwood in a slightly deflated mood.
However, having beaten Abbey Gate and only losing on penalties to Lady Barn, Bridgewater were on track to remain unbeaten all year if they could avoid defeat against local rivals Branwood. With no Matteo to add steel into the side, Bridgewater had the worst possible start and went down to an early goal from energetic and determined opponents. Alfie restored parity with an equaliser from a corner but another defensive error put Branwood back into the lead at 2-1.
Bridgewater rallied to produce a 10 minute spell of good quality football, with Josh and Jaydon trying to support Alfie in attack. It was the ever impressive Alfie who put Bridgewater back into the game at 2-2 and then into a lead of 3-2 as Alfie completed his hattrick. Unfortunately, the team switched off again and allowed themselves to lose concentration and went into the break 4-3 down.
The second half was much closer as a contest, with both teams surging forward to score more goals. Harper was joined at the back by Alfie to try and stem the opposition attacks and Bridgewater were restricted to chances on the break and from set pieces. Despite a string of important saves from Thomas in the Bridgewater net, it was Branwood who scored next to go into a decisive 5-3 lead.
Bridgewater pressed forward and following another set of corners, Alfie scored his fourth and the team’s fourth goal of the game. The Branwood keeper made a flurry of saves again from Alfie and defenders blocked shot after shot from Craig, Jaydon and Josh. By the final whistle, it was Branwood who were relieved to get out of the rain with a 5-4 win.
Much to the credit of the Bridgewater team, they never stopped looking to win the game. With a larger than normal squad in attendance, Toby, Joel, Tobias, Luca, Dexter and David will all feature more frequently in the future. It is important that all the squad continue to train together as often as they can if they are to develop individually and collectively.