27th May 2018
3 – Louis F 8 – Charlie W
4 – Tom A 9 – Zach L
5 – Leo M 10 – Charlie T
6 – Harry H 11 – Sam M
Selhurst Park was the venue for today’s outing which started early on Sunday morning!
The boys boarded the team coach at 6:30am (yes that’s 6:30am) as they prepared for the trip to South London. Any tiredness soon turned into giddiness as the lads immediately made their way to the back of the coach, leaving their parents at the front looking bleary eyed and needing a few more hours in bed!
Louis F made his own way to the ground ready to meet us there in time for kick off and Cameron M was the only absentee as he headed off for a well-deserved end of season holiday.
The coach pulled into the stadium car park with lots of admiring glances from the teams already there, leaving the lads feeling like superstars as they made their way off.
Christian L assisted me with the team today in Ross’ absence and our first job was to get the team registered. This was done quickly and we made our way into the 26,000 seater stadium! The boys looked around in awe!
Before their first game started the Piranhas lined up eagerly in the tunnel and as the stadium announcer called their names one-by-one, they made their way onto the perfectly prepared surface. The boys clapped their adoring fans as they ran onto the pitch with dreams that one day in the future they may be doing this on a weekly basis.
There was also a visit to the changing rooms. The area for away teams was very basic and very warm, looking to disadvantage any visiting side. The boys sat on the benches trying to find the same area as many of their heroes, the likes of Salah, Mane, Firmino – the list was endless. The home dressing room was next, much more comfortable with a proper shower area and a fridge full of HP sauce!
Next up was the football. Playing against unfamiliar teams (and one familiar one!), it would be a real test for the boys. When you play in a league you get to know the opposition but this would be new territory for the Piranhas. With timings slick throughout the day, there was no time for a warm-up so we just asked the boys to enjoy every match and make the most of this opportunity. The surface was perfect for the Piranhas passing style so we were excited to see what would happen.
The lads took it in turns to play in goal with Charlie W, Charlie T, Tom A and Leo M all taking the gloves throughout the morning. The team would keep a familiar look about it for each match in the 7-a-side format. The pitches were a little smaller than standard pitches so short, quick passing was the order of the day.
Group Match 1 – Piranhas v Branscome United
The Piranhas started the tournament with a bang, playing exactly as we asked them to. Charlie W went in goal for this one. The first Piranhas goal came when Zach L’s drive was saved by the keeper but fell to Charlie T who lashed it home.
The second was a rasping drive by Tom A from the edge of the box.
Group Match 2 – Piranhas v Horley Town
Charlie T went in goal for this one.
Not the best performance from the team saw a goalless encounter against the eventual group winners.
Group Match 3 – Piranhas v Langton Green
Tom A went in goal.
The Piranhas were clearly the better team in this game, however, they couldn’t make their domination count.
Knock-out Match 1 – Piranhas v Horley Town Clarets
Leo M went in goal.
A dominant performance from the Piranhas. The first goal came when Harry H played in a corner for Charlie T to run onto and bundle into the net. Goal number two came courtesy of a free kick when the keeper handled outside of his box. Charlie T smashed the kick through the wall into the net.
Zach L got number three when Charlie T’s shot came back from the keeper. Zach beat a defender and slotted home. Charlie T completed his hat-trick after some neat footwork and left foot finish.
Final Match – Piranhas v Coggeshall Town
Leo M went in goal again.
A game against our near neighbours proved to be a step too far for the boys. They were extremely tired after the effort they had put into the morning.
It was the usual exhibition of football from the Piranhas, with every player putting in 100% effort throughout the morning.
The boys lined up and collected their well-deserved medals and certificates and took the applause from their devoted fans.
A fantastic day all round, topped off with great weather.
Thank you to Christian L for helping me with the team and thanks, as always, to the Piranhas faithful, following their young footballers all over the country!
The lads and their parents took their places back on the coach for the journey home after sampling a day in the life of a professional footballer, a career that they all hope will be theirs one day!