U11 Lions miss out in Cup Final
by Mike Stephenson on May 7th, 2013

Mid Solent Youth League U11 Cup Final
Thursday 2nd May 2013
Crofton Saints Lions v Gosport FC Arrows
Cams Alders Football Ground, Fareham - Kick Off 6.15pm

Sponsored by the Coleman Family

It was a glorious evening at Cams Alders and perfect for a game of football. Gosport Arrows got the final underway but it was Crofton Lions that showed first when awarded a free kick just outside the box – It wasn’t one of the Lions better efforts, however. Moments later the Lions were awarded another free kick when Harry O’Malley was tripped just outside the area, but it came to nothing. Less than one minute later the Lions won a corner kick on the left and Baran Sener sent in a beautiful ball which was cleared away. In the fifth minute the Lions suffered their first scare when the Lions keeper dropped an innocuous ball in the six yard area. This lead to a scramble in front of the goal, but the ball eventually went out for a goal kick. Moments later Kai Sterne sent a great through ball into the path of Tommy Milchard, but he was just unable to get on the end of it. At the other end a Lions player went down injured. After some attention he was able to carry on. Gosport were then able to make progress down the left wing through a series of throw-ins but the Lions eventually managed to get the ball back upfield. There then followed good runs by Kai Sterne and Josh Fox with Josh Fox winning yet another corner. This was followed by a decent chance when Harry O’Malley laid the ball off to Baran Sener whose well-struck shot sailed just wide of the far post. It wasn’t all one-way traffic and Gosport always looked dangerous going forward and one long ball allowed the Arrows in. Sam Blythin raced from his goal to block the attempt and the ball rebounded off the forward for a goal kick. Scott Faulkner then had to clear in front of goal and this was followed by another Arrows attack which petered out for a goal kick. It was then the Lions turn to put the Arrows under pressure. A long ball down the wing gave Scott Faulkner a chase, but quick as he was he was unable to catch the ball and it drifted out for a throw in. This was followed by a typical run by Kai Sterne and the Arrows defence was forced to knock the ball out for a corner. Adam Hatton took the corner from the right and his well struck ball was desperately palmed away for another corner at the near post. Up to this point the Lions were playing exceptionally well and their efforts were rewarded by a goal. In the 22nd minute Kai Sterne broke free from the Arrows defence and poked the ball forward. There was no great strength in the shot but it went wide of the keeper reach and crept into the corner of the far corner of the net. Moments after the restart Josh Fox had a speculative shot from distance, but it never threatened the Arrows goal. The Lions delight at taking the lead was cruelly deflated when the Arrows pulled the scores level. They moved the ball forward on the right and this resulted in a shot on goal which the Lions may have done better to defend. Less than one minute later, however, the Lions had restored their lead – and again through Kai Sterne. In the 27th minute he picked up the ball in the penalty area out on the right. He hooked the ball across the keeper and it rolled into the net very close to the far post. With three minutes remaining, plus added on time, there was still time for the Arrows to crash the ball against the Lions crossbar and to force Sam Blythin into a save. And so it was that the Lions went into the break with their noses in front - but you can never take the Arrows lightly.
Nonetheless, it was the Lions who came close to scoring again less than two minute into the second half. A superb Kai Sterne pass found Benjamin Lolljowaheer free on the right. Without breaking stride he hit it on the run with his right foot and sent a great shot flashing just wide of the near post. Benjamin is predominantly left footed so it was a brilliant effort with his ‘wrong un’! In the 35th minute the Arrows again pulled level. They were allowed to get the ball in from the right and a forward crashed it into the back of the net. The defence would have been annoyed that they should have done better, but things were to get worse. In the 38th minute the Arrows moved into the lead when more loose defending allowed the Arrows time and space to have a free shot on goal. To be truthful the Arrows were now moving up a gear and were surely in the ascendancy. The Lions were trying hard to get forward but nothing was coming off for them at that stage. For the Arrows, however, everything was now going their way. They were working hard, winning loose balls, and were putting the Lions defence under a lot of pressure. In the 45th minute the Lions again gave the Arrows time and space to hit the Lions net. It was another free shot that sailed in over Sam Blythin’s head. From then on the Lions seemed to have no answer to the Arrows constant attacks. It wasn’t that they’d given up but they were now facing incessant attacks by the rampant Arrows forwards. It was inevitable that they would score again. A shot came in from the right. Sam Blythin got his hands to the ball but could not prevent the Arrows moving into a 5-2 winning lead. One had to feel for the boys. They had tried really hard, especially in the first half. It was a massive pitch for the boys to play on and both sides had been chased and harried over every inch of it. Crucially, however, the Arrows were able to call upon eight substitutes against the Lions two, and it was inevitably that this would affect the Lions eventually - and they began to tire. Sure, it was a great disappointment for the boys, but for much of the match they had fought a brave fight and had matched and bettered the Arrows in the first half. The Lions had battled away both in midfield and going forward, and they were putting in a lot of effort on wings but without much joy. The defence had worked hard but were overwhelmed in the second half when they were really under the cosh. To be sure too, this does not represent failure. The Lions have finished third in the league and were runners up in this U11s Challenge Cup. Without doubt other teams have greater numbers and greater strength in depth – which is to their advantage - but the boys have kept going all season and there are still the tournaments to come.

Final Score: Crofton Saints Lions  2 - 5  Gosport FC Arrows

Lions Squad: Adam Hatton, Baran Sener, Benjamin Lolljowaheer, Euan Smart, Harry O’Malley, James Beadell, Joe O’Mahony, Josh Fox, Kai Sterne, Max Fawcett, Sam Blythin, Scott Faulkner and Tommy Milchard.

Lion’s scorer: Kai (2)

Referee: Bradley Pike 8/10. Linesmen: Dan Batchelor and Josh Young

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