Phoenix Tournament on Isle of Wight

The U9 Phoenix team had a successful time at the Isle of Wight Easter Tournament.
When the “entertainment” for the opening evening is Stavros Flatley you know you’re in for a weekend of playing hard – both on and off the pitch. And so it turned out.
Played over 2 days, with 5 league games each morning it was a very hectic schedule for the boys. Having not taken any subs, every boy had to play every minute of every game. With the games only being 5 mins each way, the pressure not to concede but to also go out and get a goal was high. The quality was extremely high, with several teams arriving off the back of unbeaten seasons in their respective leagues. Teams included Corringham from Essex who the boys had played in a final at a tournament last year in Hastings, Beckenham, Ebley from Gloucesteshire and Vectis – the local all star team associated to Bournemouth academy.
After an easy 5-0 opener things started to get tougher, playing 3 of the 4 teams mentioned previously. Day one finished with Phoenix in 2nd place in the league, behind on goal difference having played 5, Won 3 and drawn 2 conceding scoring 9 and conceding just 1.
Having now firmly established who were the teams to beat and what goals were needed, Day 2 was to prove an exhausting and emotional day for the players. Opening up with a 6-0 victory the charge for 1st place was set and swiftly followed with 2 more victories. At that point tiredness and lack of subs kicked in and we finished with consecutive 0-0 draws.
At the end of the final game and having not seen a league table during the day the players and parents believed that the chance to progress to the final had been lost, a few tears were shed and arms placed around the boys. Then less than 5 minutes before the scheduled kick off for the final, top 2 play off for the trophy, the manager from Corringham runs up and tells us we’ve actually won the league on goal difference from them and we’re now to play them in a repeat of the final from Hastings in 2014.
Final standings in the league we played 10, Won 6, drew 4, lost 0, scored 18, conceded 1. This was just enough to win the league on goal difference by 1 from Corringham and by 7 from Beckenham – who were hugely unlucky to then lose a 3rd/4th play off despite having finished level at the top.
The short build up to the final left just enough time to wipe away the tears, and throw as much Lucozade and Haribo’s down their throats as possible. The match was a tense affair with the players having nothing left in their legs but refusing to give away their unbeaten tag. A midfield battle ensued and not unexpectedly a 0-0 draw was the final score. And so to penalties. Phoenix had borrowed Joseph Finnan from the Lions for the weekend as our goalkeeper and this was his chance to shine. After 3 penalties it was 2-0 to Corringham and all seemed doomed only for Joseph to save the next two enabling Phoenix to bring it level after 5. Now sudden death, both teams slotted their 6th leaving it to the keepers to step up. Both went the traditional method for a gaolie and put their laces through it and both scored. So it was back round again.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we missed the 8th giving Corringham the trophy.
All in all a great weekend enjoyed thoroughly by payers and parents a great end to the season and a fantastic experience for the boys.