Crookham Rover U9 Titans triumph in the North East Hampshire Youth League Cup Final
The mighty Titans end a great season with a win in the U9 Div 5 Cup Final, beating Mytchett Athletics Eagles, 4-1 in extra time.
The Crookham Rovers U9 Titans were appearing in their first ever cup final and what a final it was. Blood, sweat and tears.
Blood, sweat and tears sums up the game - cut lip from a ball in the face, the boys running non-stop for 60mins and the manager getting a little emotional at the end of the match.
The Titans started the strongest and dominated the first half. Some of the usual great passing play meant the Titans were pressuring the Mytchett goal from the off. Great start and everything positive, but 10 mins in, Mytchett won a corner and with a great delivery into the Titans goal mouth brought about an instinctive reaction from one of the defenders to see the ball past the goal with their hands, gifting Mytchett with a penalty against the run of play. Step up George, the Titans goal keeper, making a great save with his feet to clear the ball out, only to then seconds later make another great save with his hands. The spectators and players all breathed a sigh of relief, and George had the biggest smile. Could this be the motivation for the team to go on and score ?
On a typical Titans break, the midfield maestro Lucio, played a lovely pass through to Callum to put him 1 on1 with the goal keeper, who he calming swept by and slotted into the open goal - the Titans were up and running with their 100th goal of the season.
The rest of the half saw the Titans dominate, but missing out on some good chances, the Titans ended the first half just the 1 goal up. This was always going to be a close match, as having lost to the Eagles 4-0 earlier in the season, the Titans were out for revenge. You could sense the nerves and the second half proved to be a test for the Titans.
From dominating the game in the first half, the second half was a complete reverse. The Titans came under pressure for the next 20 mins and try as they might, Mytchett kept the Titans passing game under control and started their own attacking plays, going close on a couple of occasions. As time passed the relentless pressure showed and with a great passing play from Mytchett, the Titans were caught lacking in defence and with a lovely delivered cross, the Eagles slotted the ball home - credit to Mytchett and well deserved. Mytchett continued to keep the pressure up and it was clear we had a tight game on our hands.
With a tactical change of players in midfield, the Titans regrouped and played out the last 5 mins more evenly matched, narrowly missing the chance to win the game with 60 secs to go, when a cross was inches away from being tapped in from an outstretched foot - was that the chance that would cost us ? The ref blew for full-time and the Titans found themselves going into extra time at 1-1.
The next 10 mins, saw a different Titans team to the one in the second half - confidence was back and the passes were connecting again. Mytchett were throwing everyone up to close the Titans down, when Tom won the ball out on the wing, skipping past a couple of the Eagles and delivering the ball into Jack B, who calmly moved the ball off his favoured left foot, around the goal keeper and slotting it home with his right foot to take the Titans into the lead - the boys swamped Jack B, with the Titans goal keeper running the full length of the pitch to join in the celebrations - that is what this game meant to the boys. The half time talk was focussed on calming the boys down, excitement and nerves overflowing from all of them - 5 mins away from winning the cup.
Then straight from the training ground, after watching our U15 Youth win the County Cup only a few weeks before, the Titans restarted the second half of extra time with a pass back to Lucio, who lofted it downfield to Will, who brought it under control with one touch, drew the defender out and played a sweet pass onto the goal machine Jack O, running in to slot it home, as he has done all season, to take the Titans 3-1 up. Could we now relax, with only 4 mins left, was this enough ?
It wasn’t enough for the Titans, who were now clearly back in control and with the Eagles starting to look beaten, the Titans did what they do best, passed the ball around, played as a team, ending with Jack O finishing with yet another lovely taken chance. There was no way back for Mytchett and the Titans played out the match to take a well-deserved cup final win, finishing 4-1.
Credit to the Mytchett Athletic Eagles, they had the Titans fighting for it and deserved to take the game into extra time. It then came down to who wanted it the most, cometh the moment, cometh the Titans ! This is a day that will live in the memories of all that were there, not least from the drama of a saved penalty, but for the way that these 8 & 9-year-olds played the whole season and ended with their most hard-fought and well-deserved victory, winning the cup !
We are all proud of you boys, well done, excellent season - everyone will remember the day they played the Titans, the mighty, mighty Titans !
C’mon you Titans !!!