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BECKENHAM TOWN REDS VICTORIOUS.....Parky's red & white army!

As is tradition whether it be Premier League or grass roots football, end of Season tournaments certainly capture the imagination of everyone. With our friends at Active Sports and with the excellent facilities of Bromley FC a beautiful spring evening saw the innagural Active Sports end of season Tounament take place. Our thanks to everyone who attended players, officials, parents and spectators who really made it a special occasion.
The eight teams who took part Beckenham Town Reds & Blues, Warren Tigers, Dutch Academy, Orpington Rovers Lions, Pickhurst Academy, Petts Wood & Coney Hall all helped contribute to a great evening of football.

There were two groups of four with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semi finals with the evening climaxing with a final and a third and fourth place final.

GROUP A
Beckenham Town Blues managed by Eddie Taylor were up against Orpington Rovers Lions, Petts Wood and Pickhurst Academy. Things got off to a great start for Eddie Taylor's boys as they registered a hard fought 1-0 victory over their Tandridge League rivals Orpington Rovers Lions with a goal from Carlo Da Costa.The second game saw yet another close contest as Petts Wood played out a 0-0 draw with Pickhurst Academy. Next up it was Taylor's team against Pickhurst Academy and they knew if they could register a victory they were in pole position to advance to the knock out stages. They didn't disappoint as goals from Da Costa and Nathan Lavaly, before a late reply from Pickhurst saw the "blues" with one foot in the semi final. Orpington Rovers Lions then kept their hopes alive of qualifying with a 1-0 victory over Petts Wood who were now looking at elimination unless they could get a result against Taylor's team in their last game and then rely on results elsewhere. Sadly for Petts Wood they ran into a rampant Blues team led by Nathan Lavaly who's hat trick saw the Blues run out comfortable 3-0 winners and secure their place in the semi finals as group winners. It meant it was a winner takes it all shoot out between Pickhurst Academy and Orpington Rovers for a semi final place. Tight games seemed to be the order of the night for these two teams and it was one goal which separated them at the end of a tight encounter. Pickhurst with a late goal advancing to the knock out stages.
GROUP B
Beckenham Town Reds managed by James Parkinson were up against fellow Tandridge League sides Dutch Academy, Warren Tigers and Coney Hall. Goals from Bailey, Jasper and a flying header from Ben Clarkson settled the opening game in a matter of minutes although Dutch Academy showed real heart in scoring a consolation goal late in the game. A good start for Parkinson's boys. Next up were the Warren Tigers against the local rivals Coney Hall. A cracking game with chances going begging saw the Tigers finally breakthrough and register their first win of the night. A quick turnaround for the Tigers saw them come up against Parkinson's Beckenham Town Reds and the game was very much in the balance after the Tigers to their credit having withstood some real pressure equalised Jaspers early goal. However Bailey and a debut goal from Alex Sharpe- Mcgrail that saw the "Reds" safely over the line and one step closer to the semi finals. Next up it was Coney Hall's chance to get some points on the board in a must win game if they were to have any chance of progressing. They succeeded in keeping their hopes alive with a solid 2-0 victory against Dutch Academy who again were punished despite playing some lovely football but not converting their chances.The penultimate game saw Coney Hall taking on Beckenham Town Reds. Knowing they were all but guaranteed a place in the semi final the Reds were keen to finish the group stages on top with a victory but full credit to Coney Hall ,who knew a win would enhance their chances of qualifying, for really taking the game to their opponents. But as hard as they tried they couldn't breakdown the Reds defence who were superbly marshaled by new goalkeeper Louis Ferguson who showed real composure as the game ended in a stalemate. It all meant that that in the final game of the group a win for Warren Tigers against Dutch Academy and they were through as runners up. Anything less and Coney Hall by virtue of their point earned against Beckenham Town were through. What a game the two teams put on! Goals a plenty. Dutch finally finding their shooting boots and scoring three great goals but unfortunately that elusive victory still eluded them as Warren Tigers scored four goals themselves. Beckenham Town Reds and Warren Tigers advanced to the semi finals.

SEMI FINALS
Played simultaneously Beckenham Town Blues took on Warren Tigers and Beckenham Town Reds were up against Pickhurst Academy. Could the visitors spoil the party and overcome the the two Beckenham sides? Eddie Taylor's blues got of to a flyer with that man Nathan Lavaly putting them in front with a well taken goal and as hard as the Tigers tried they just couldn't find an equaliser and it was no surprise as time ticked on with the Tigers pressing they got hit on the break as Lavaly put his name up in lights with his second goal of the game and his sixth of the tournament to see Taylor's boys across the line 2-0. One Beckenham team through to the final, could Parkinson's boys set up an all Beckenham final? The answer was an emphatic yes as goals from Bailey Sharpe- Mcgrail and Jasper set up an all Beckenham Town Final.

THE FINAL
So to the final and the climax of the evening's festivities. Parkinson's Reds wore their blue away kit as things got under way. It was a cagey start as both teams so familiar with each other couldn't impose themselves on the game. However the breakthrough was imminent as a sweeping move from back to front, starting with Ferguson rolling the ball out to Michnowski who spotted Bailey in space having pulled of his defender, then looked up and pulled the ball back across the face of goal for Freddie Fletcher, having timed his run to perfection turning the ball home to put the Reds 1-0 up. The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Taylor's men for a short period as Parkinson's Reds then really imposed themselves on the game. Driven on by captain Jasper and Clarkson they really took control of the game and it was no surprise when Fletcher got his second of the game from long range, although it has to be said the Blues Keeper Adams may have been a little unsighted with a penalty area full of bodies in front of him. It said a lot about Taylor's boys though as they showed real character and with a little bit of luck after a flurry of corners and free kicks, but for the composure of Ferguson could easily have got themselves back in the game. However having withstood their opponents pressure the icing on the cake was the third goal and a hat trick on the night for Fletcher. Having been relatively quiet for the other games he got himself on the end of a great cross from Sharpe- Mcgrail to head home at the far post and settle the result. 3-0 to Parkinson's Reds. Full credit to both teams for the spirit the game was played in and fitting that at the end players, mangers Taylor & Parkinson and parents from both sides all embraced knowing they had all been part of a great sporting occasion. Eddie Taylor's boys should take great credit form their performance not only on the night but this season as a whole being their first season together. As for old hand Parkinson, who is now a veteran of two seasons it was fitting he should lead his boys to their first success for all his hard work he has put in to the team. The boys did him proud. The third and fourth place final was won by Warren Tigers who overcome Pickhurst Academy 8-7 on penalties after being level at the end of normal time.

So there you have it.....there were tears, tantrums, laughter and above all a sense of achievement from all the boys who took part. It is what makes football so special and nights like this that as parents we can all look back on with pride, win lose or draw. Football was the winner.

Well done to everyone who took part.