Manchester 2-3 Wolves
Team: Joe, Kyle, Fabio, Aaron, Andre, Elliot, Ethan, Ricky, Beau, Prem, Max
Goalscorers: Ethan, Andre and Elliot
Our reward for beating Gloucester was a trip to Chorlton High to play a very talented Manchester Schoolboys team. The first Saturday in June treated us to temperatures of 22 degrees, so hot that we needed impromptu water breaks throughout the game. We knew today’s National Cup quarter final would provide the sternest test of the season so far but the boys were raring to go right from the referee’s first whistle. We dominated the first ten minutes of the game in the heat and deservedly took the lead when Ethan and Andre played a one-two, leaving Ethan with the simple task to beat the goalkeeper. He made no mistake and slotted the ball home to the delight of the watching away crowd. 0-1.
We continued to attack with pace and some tricky feet from Ricky allowed him space to cross the ball to Elliot. The Manchester keeper somehow got himself across the goal to stop it. Brilliant save.
Manchester then came back into the game with some direct football and their pacey striker was causing us a few problems. When Manchester won a corner on the left-hand side, the ball was whipped into the box. Fortunately for us, the corner was a poor one; however, as Andre tried to clear the ball at the front post, it sliced off the outside of his foot, giving Joe no chance. 1-1. As the boys tired in the heat, the rest of the half petered out and both teams were glad for half-time. 1-1 HT.
The half-time team talk issued a change in shape and direction from Wolverhampton with Aaron moving to centre back to alleviate the threat of the Manchester striker. We knew that the next goal could be important but Manchester got it with a mazey solo run from the Manchester number 8, who passed the ball into the bottom corner after beating four Wolverhampton players. 2-1.
We were now up against it, knowing that we needed to score the next goal. We weathered the storm of Manchester attacks and managed to break where Ricky found himself one on one and won a corner. Ethan whipped the ball in and Andre rose highest at the back post to power home a fantastic header. Game on. 2-2.
We continued in the ascendency and winning the ball high up the pitch, meant an overload on the right-hand side when Ricky beat his man and picked out Elliot, unmarked at the back post and our captain made no mistake. 2-3.
Some heroic defending, excellent goalkeeping and great determination meant that there were no more goals from either team and the game ended in an historic victory for Wolverhampton, reaching the National Cup semi-finals for the first time in living memory. Every single boy was brilliant and it was a joy to watch (most of the time, when heart-attacks weren’t occurring).
Thank you to all parents and staff for their excellent commitment to our association; there would be no district football without you. Our prize is a home semi-final vs our friends at Liverpool Schools and we all wish the boys the best of luck.