On a blustery winters day Ormer FC U12’s travelled to Jersey to take part in a four team tournament at Springfield which included Jersey club sides St Brelade, Trinity and St Pauls. Despite the onslaught of the elements, including a swirling wind and heavy showers all teams displayed fortitude, imagination and high quality football in an incredibly tight tournament.
First up for the Ormer, were St Brelade. The Guernsey boys blazed out of the blocks and took the game to the opposition in the opening minutes and were rewarded with an early lead. Following a flowing move in which the Ormer players zipped the ball around the pitch and exploited an opportunity with a third man run and ball into the feet of Alex Rihoy. Without breaking stride he was able to fire a clinical finish across the St Brelade keeper and into the far corner.
However any notion of shell shock on the part of St Brelade was swiftly dispelled with a quickly executed equaliser. The Jersey team quickly moved the ball forward into the Ormer half of the pitch and looked to have created an overload opportunity but were denied the chance as the move was brought to a halt by the foul of a covering Ormer player. The resultant free quick brought a stunning equaliser as the ball flashed into the net past the helpless Ben Robert.
Ormer were thankful for the agility of Robert who pulled off an outstanding save at full stretch and moments after by the covering defensive duties of George Goubert and Rio Gaudian. Despite the pressure from St Brelade it was the Ormer boys who edged ahead in the contest as Gaudian headed a midfield ball over the top of the St Brelade back line and in to the path of Tim Ap Sion who used his pace to good effect and finished in style.
Back came St Brelade and within minutes had fashioned an equaliser. Following a flowing move the Brelade forward found himself with time and space inside the Ormer area. The finish looked bound for the bottom corner but Robert in the Ormer goal was equal to the task and pulled off a fine save. Unfortunately for him and his team mates his save fell at the feet of a supporting player who slammed the ball into the net. St Brelade were now on top and it wasn’t a surprise to see them score a third with a well worked team goal.
The game was now being played at full stretch with both teams looking to find the next goal. Ormer almost found it when Sam Lacey produced some lovely footwork in midfield to out fox a couple of St Brelade players and play a delightful ball into the path of Max Hamon. Without breaking stride Hamon delivered a dangerous ball into the area which was initially dealt with by covering defenders. However the tame clearance to the edge of the area fell to Harry Tester who struck a ferocious shot which agonisingly curled past the far post. The game ended with the Ormers camped in the St Brelade half, but unable to find the opportunity to bring the game level. Final score St Brelade 3 Ormer FC 2.
Ormer started the next game against Trinity knowing that they needed a positive result if they were to make the final. Once again the Ormers opened proceedings with a high energy start to the match and pressurized the opposition from the off. A collective team press in the Trinity half resulted in an opportunity for Rihoy to shoot from distance. Unfortunately for Trinity the slight intervention of a defender took the flight of the ball away from the keeper and into the back of the net.
The pass and move style of play being implemented by the Ormers ensured a torrid start for Trinity who were left chasing shadows. It was no surprise to see a number of opportunities fall to Ormer players. First up was Luke Saunders who capped a fine Ormer move with a finish which crashed off the cross bar. Seconds later Ap Sion looked to give the boys in blue the lead but he was thwarted by an outstanding save by the Trinity keeper. However he could do nothing about the next attack as the Ormers swarmed forward and caught the Trinity back line at full stretch. The final pas fell to Ap Sion who smashed the ball home.
Ormer further extended their lead from a corner. The ball from Hamon was driven to the back post were Goubert ghosted between defenders to crash the ball home with a firm header.
Despite a consolation goal for Trinity late on, Ormer held firm in the closing stages. Final score Trinity 1 Ormer FC 3.
The final game of the group stages against St Pauls would determine who the Ormers played in the semi-final. Once again the Ormers were quick off the mark and were denied an early lead by an outstanding save by the impressive St Pauls keeper. Ap Sion’s rising shot was tipped over the bar and away to safety. The game was on a knife edge as both teams defended well and looked to counter at pace.
Harvey Lynley broke up play inside the Ormer half and released Harry Tester, who in turn found Alex Black on the edge of the St Pauls area. A quick shift of the ball to the right and Black was able to get a shot away which fizzed past the near post. There was still time in the half for a flurry of chances for Ap Sion. The final opportunity saw the Ormers take the lead with a great individual goal. Ap Sion burst past a couple of defenders before unleashing a powerful right foot shot into the top corner of the goal.
Both teams continued to play excellent football in the second half but clear cut chances were few and far between as sound defending and notable saves by both keepers ensured the nerves of huddled supporters in the stands were kept on edge. With chances limited, it seemed apparent that set pieces offered the best avenue to find the next goal. A foul 25 yards from goal allowed Ap Sion the opportunity to test the St Pauls keeper. A combination of power and swerve left the St Pauls keeper helpless, but much to his relief the ball cannoned to safety. With seconds on the clock St Pauls won a free kick in a central position. The tall central defender lofted the ball goal wards and clearing everyone, including the despairing dive of McCloskey in the Ormer goal gave St Pauls a share of the spoils. Final score: St Pauls 1 Ormer FC 1
The draw in the previous game ensured that St Pauls and Ormer FC would meet in the first semi-final, whilst the other was contested between St Brelade and Trinity. It was clear that the combination of earlier exertions and the deteriorating weather conditions contrived to make this a scrappy affair.
However the gloom was lifted by goal of the afternoon. George Goubert collected the ball in his own half and drove forward outpacing a couple of St Pauls midfield players. Whilst many in the crowd were looking for a pass, George had other ideas and continued his mazy dribble toward the St Pauls goal. Just when it looked like he had pushed the ball too far left he produced a stunning finish with his left foot which flew past the bemused St Pauls keeper and in to the top cormer.
With Ormer players still celebrating and considering the opposition in the final, St Pauls quickly kicked off and moved the play forward at pace. The quick feet of the St Pauls number 10 took him past a couple of Ormer defenders and as he lined up a shot he was unceremoniously dumped to the floor by a wayward tackle. After brushing the rubber crumb away he lined up his free kick and smashed the ball home to bring the tie level.
Both teams pressed for the winner late on, but there was to be no further scoring, which led to the dreaded penalty shoot-out. It was the Ormer boys who held their nerve and found themselves in the final against St Brelade. Semi Final: St Pauls 1 Ormer FC 1 (Penalties 2 -4 Ormer)
The weary Ormer players moved on to the final to face their conquerors from the group stages, St Brelade who had emphatically despatched Trinity in the other semi-final. Once again the conditions ensured a scrappy affair in which both sides battled to gain supremacy. However it was Ormer who showed the greater guile and will to win and sealed their victory with a well worked goal. The final finish was applied by Tim Ap Sion who lofted the chance over the advancing St Brelade keeper.
A fantastic opportunity for the Ormers to play at Springfield against quality opposition in the form of St Brelade, St Pauls and Trinity and continue their development.
Final score: St Brelade 0 Ormer FC 1