The glorious sunshine and success continued for the U11 boys on Wednesday at the Epsom College Football Tournament. Another festival with amazing pitches and a great atmosphere set the tone for fantastic football and, with the taste of recent success, the boys were determined to give it their all again.
With three games to decide on the group standings and which teams would play for the Cup, the Shield, the Plate or the Vase, there was no time for nervous or slow starts and the boys were focused from the first kick off. A really strong performance against the yellow and red of Fulham Prep saw Zamir grab two goals with superb finishes; Daniel and Chibuikem were strong in the midfield and Josh pinged one in with his left. A 3-0 win; the perfect start.
Game two saw us against Stamford Green in white and the boys continued the winning with an emphatic 5 – 0 victory. Chibuikem scored two, Zamir got another, Barnaby drilled one home and Charlie with a sublime finish ended the scoring.
The final group game was against the hooped shirts and a big and physical King’s House. Tiredness was surely kicking in now but the work rate was incredible from all players. Zamir, Hal and ChibuIkem chased down everything and with Barnaby, Will and Josh standing tall and the safe hands of Dawud behind them the game finished goalless. Seven points from three games and a goal difference of +8 saw the boys top the group and go into the Cup Semi-Finals.
The reds of Wallace Fields stood in the way next and the boys put in their best performance yet. An intense start saw Barnaby drill a screamer from 20 yards into the bottom corner. The defence again was standing firm and not giving an inch. Chibuikem was outstanding in midfield and with support from the tireless Hal it was left to the impressive Zamir to neatly place a second in the bottom corner after a fine move. 2-0 and into the Final.
Banstead Junior were the opposition; the greens having won their Semi-Final with a last minute winner. Another ferocious and close battle was fought. The Prep had to call on all resources for this one. Another great performance saw us on top from the start and despite some excellent football and the continued work rate we just could not seem to get the goal. At the other end Dawud was called into action and pulled off two magnificent saves. With the final whistle approaching Hal, Chibuikem and Zamir were unlucky not to score and the game ended in stalemate. PENALTIES!
If England are looking for calm, cool and collected penalty takers they would do well to visit Dulwich Prep and Banstead Junior. Penalties out of the top drawer from so many. The Prep went second and with Banstead scoring each penalty the pressure was on Hal, Zamir, Josh, Barnaby and Daniel but they gave the keeper no chance. Sudden death saw Banstead miss only for the referee to call for a retake due to Dawud coming off his line. Goal! 7-6. Will stepped up and cool as a cucumber slotted it home. Dawud may have felt hard done by before but with superb focus and determination saved the next before stepping up himself to score the winner. Champions again.
The boys put in an outstanding display of teamwork, passing, goal scoring and sportsmanship in all games and were a credit to Dulwich Prep. With no goals conceded in open play and all 9 squad members scoring, it was a real team effort which made the victory all the more sweet. A special thank you to Mr O’Brien and the parents who came and supported them throughout. Epsom College Head of Sport, along with Chelsea representatives, presented the medals to the beaming boys and Zamir lifted the Cup. A well-deserved lunch was had in the College afterwards.