Haslemere under 14 boys travelled to Plymouth perhaps more in hope than expection . They had made it to the last 32 of the National Championships and were up against both Surbiton and Fareham , two strong teams with ambitions to be overall Champions .
Haslemere travelled with 11 men due to a late injury to Will Porter but spirits were high and realistic about the challenges ahead.
We watched Surbiton comfortably beat Fareham 2-0 before starting against a very confident looking Plymouth , keen to impress the local crowd. .
Haslemere took the game to Plymouth from the start and goals from Alex Beckett and Jonno Hoe made for a great start 3-0 .
Next up the mighty Surbiton , winners of the overall tournament on sveral occasions and strong favourites again this year .
Haslemere had done their homework on the oppo , and knowing they had a specialsit drag flicker had practised with a 3 man run out against the new ball machine the Friday night before .
We also played a very tactical game , with a well organised half court press and great running back from Rory Michna and Will Owen making life difficult for the oppo.
The midfield unit of Louis Whittle Wright . Alfie Richards and Captain Alex Beckett gave as good as they got , and with a back four of Harvey Hill ,Gus Hanbury, Toby Fitter and our talismanic figure of Duggie Alexander it was a very difficult group of players to get past .
Archie Summers was having the game of his life in goal , including an excellent save from a drag flick onto the bar,
Half time 0-0 and things were going entirely to plan. We just needed a flash of inspiration from someone , and it came with our first short . Ball out to Alfie Richards who calmy went past the two runners before squaring to Alex Beckett who made no mistake and shot it straight into the back to the net!
The local crowd were getting very excited by now , as with ten minutes to go Haslemere were ahead and Surbiton rattled.
We managed to hold onto the lead for at least two minutes until we were breached by a top short corner routine.
1-1 with only a few minutes to go was a great position to be in , Haslemere boys who were now running on adrelinne managed another goal with the move of the match . Louis Whittle Wright pinched the ball outside our own D and skinned a couple of players before planting the perfect pass to Jonno who flicked it passed the keeper with some aplomb. Queue major uproar and delight the crowd went wild, and with two minutes to go Haslemere were very close to a truely great result . At this moment Alfie was very harshly sent off and we were down to 10 men - a short ensued The whistle went for full time and the entire Surbiton team had just a few seconds to score . Inspite of Archie's best efforts they managed it , it was 2-2 a fine majestic result from both teams who gave their all in a totally unforgettable game.
Haslemere came off to raptous applause , glad to have been part of a fantastic 30 minutes of sport .
We licked our wounds and there were many . By now both Gus and Harvey were carrying bad injuries and with no subs we were stuffed !!!!!!
We went down 2-0 to Fareham in the final game, effectively playing with 9 men but we went on our way with our heads held high and of what might have been!
Well done to all and for Tony and Rich for managing on the day.