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Isle of Wight Easter Soccer Festival 2015

Off we all set on a misty overcast Good Friday. Expectations were high. Could the Beckenham Town Under 9 Reds bring home the trophy at the Isle of Wight Easter Soccer Festival?

Read on and find out how the boys did on their first ever football tour.

Isle of Wight FAFriday evening saw the all the parents and the boys decamp in the clubhouse at the Landgaurd Holiday camp. The alcohol consumed by certain parents - who will not be named in fear of shaming them - set the presedent for the weekend. It was only when one of the more sober parents pointed out that we were the only team with any players left still in the bar at an inappropriate hour that some of the more sensible ones amongst us realised it might be a good idea to get the boys to bed, given we had six games to play on the Saturday and our first game kicked off at 9.00 am!

First game Saturday morning saw the boys get of to a great start. A comfortable 1-0 victory over a local side from the Island set us up nicely for the day ahead. The late arrivals amongst the hungover parents missed a solid team performance with the winning goal a real poachers effort from Jurell Tull.

Two subsequent 1-0 victories with winning goals from Jurell and Freddie Fletcher saw us top the table after three games with a maximum nine points . All to play for in the quest for silverware!

We learnt the standard of the local sides was strong from one of our parents who he tells us in the call of duty was networking with other parents from our rivals the night before! We were about to find out if his information was correct!

Our next game was against a team defending their title from last year. With the games only five minutes each way it looked like for all the world with under a minute left we had earned a hard fought draw only to be undone from a short corner. A crisp finish in the top corner meant we had no time to even kick off again. Three wins one defeat from four games. NIsle of Wightot to big a setback as the team who had just beaten us had lost their first game to our next opponents.

The fourth game was to prove to be a pivotal game for us. Very similar to our last match with under a minute remaining we were the victims of a very dubious penalty decision. The resulting penalty was scored and another crushing defeat was registered. Three wins, two defeats with one game left to play on day one against arguably the strongest team in the tournament. This was the opportunity for the boys to really show their worth and bounce back from the dissapointment of two unfortunate defeats. They didn't disappoint! A great game, two fully commited teams really going hamner and tong at each other, somehow finished 0-0.

We had stopped the rot and after six games although having slipped to fourth in the standings we were only two points of top spot.....still all to play for on the Sunday with just the top two going through to the final.

Saturday evening was a much more civilised affair as those who peaked too early on the Friday were nowhere to be seen and retreated back to their accommodation!

Suitably refreshed and with all the  boys having had an early night we were all raring to go on Sunday as we looked forward to the final four games of the group stages. We knew we had to win our remaining four games to have any chance of making the final and the boys didn't let us down! Nine goals shared between Ben Clarkson Jahsian Hines Jurell Tull Charlie Fletcher and Eddie Taylor saw us record the four victories we needed. With the added bonus of four clean sheets we finished the ten games with seven wins one draw and two defeats. 22 points. Was it good enough to get us through to the final? Only time would tell as there were still games left to play between our main rivals for the coveted final spots.

Half an hour of watching the remaining games knowing that it was now likely to come down to goal difference given the way the other results had gone left everyone on tenterhooks. Then the bad news came.....After a brilliant effort from the boys we missed the final on goal difference! Three teams finished on 22 points. As eluded to earlier the pivotal game proved to be the game we lost to a disputed penalty. Walton Casuals having beaten us 1-0 contested the final against Corringham.

So near yet so far! To finish third on their first tour was a great achievement by all the boys. What softened the blow a little was that so many people came up to the boys, referees as well, who said in their opinion we were the best footballing team there, highlighted by the fact we won more games overall than the two finalists.

Each boy did themselves proud and as parents and coaches we couldn't have asked more from them. They were a credit to Beckenham Town JFC.

The weekend finished on a real  high for the boys as they received their trophies at the presentation evening from none other than Matt Le Tissier.

So there you go, the story of the Beckenham Town Under 9 ' s Tour to the Isle of Wight. Great memories and friendships forged forever by boys and parents alike.