AFTER experiencing the disappointment of finishing runners-up in both their league and cup campaigns, Barry Athletic Football Club U13s (Year 8) completed their season by testing themselves at tournament level.
Nine players attended the Undy Athletic FC tournament in Caldicot and, although the team was dealt an early blow by the loss of their regular goalkeeper in the morning, Dan Barnett proved an able replacement and conceded just a single goal in the group stage. He was greatly assisted by the outstanding defending of Joe Allwood.
The boys put in an excellent performance to beat the strongest team in the group, with Jordan Jones finishing off a chance produced by the creativity of Rhys Woolmer and Harri Edwards. Although the team remained unbeaten in the group, they just missed out on progressing by a point.
The Athletic then visited Monmouth Town FC in what proved to be a good day for the eight players. Again, they had the setback of having their goalkeeper unavailable but this time the responsibility for keeping goal was shared by the players, with five taking a turn or two each.
In the opening game, Athletic started strongly and created the goal of the group stage, with six one touch passes resulting in a good finish from Joshua Peets. In the second game, the boys moved up a gear to put six goals past their opponents, with the highlight being Connor Bright's hat-trick and Dan Barnett's solo effort. With Evan Wells pulling the strings in midfield, the Athletic continued in the same vein for the remaining group games and ended up topping the table unbeaten.
In the semi-final, Athletic were pitted against local rivals Sully Sports. Sully started the better to go1-0 up after just two minutes but goals from the mercurial Woolmer and Allwood saw the boys into the final.
Malpas United were the opponents for the last game of the day and, with the sunshine now taking its toll on the players, both sides struggled to make an impact.
With a stalemate after five minutes of extra-time, it was down to penalties and Jack Such made the brave decision to take on the goalkeeping role for the Athletic. In the process, he managed to put one of the Malpas players off his stride and he duly smashed his effort against the post. Up stepped Lawrence Walpole, Peets and Allwood who all converted their penalties for Athletic in a confident manner and Bright completed the day by lifting the cup for the squad.
The coaching staff would like to commend the whole of the squad for their efforts this season; the progression in their development is there for all to see.