It was a cold Thursday night at Ingfield, the home of Ossett United FC in West Yorkshire.

I was there to support the Gildersome Spurs Juniors U15 football team as they had reached the final of the Heavy Woollen District FA Blackburn Cup. No mean feat for the Division 2 side, that only a month earlier had been defeated by their Division 1 opponents, Morley Glen Juniors, 5-1 in a league cup match.

Despite arguably being the under-dogs, spirits were high in the dressing room before kick-off. Connor Miller (Cap.) led the team out and took his position in goal.

The first half was very evenly matched with a few good chances for both teams. The standard of play was remarkable, and the excitement grew as it became obvious that this was not going to be a one-sided fixture.

Towards the end of the first half Ben Furey hit the back of the net for Gildersome. 1-0. Their dream could become real! 

Shortly after the restart, Morley Glen’s Charlie Parker scored the equaliser. But Gildersome kept their heads and played on defiantly. Again, the second half was very equally matched. The pressure level rose as the last few minutes were played out, then came the final whistle. This highly entertaining and exciting match was going to be settled by a penalty shoot-out!

As each of the players walked to the penalty area, the tension around the ground was palpable. Both teams missed one of their first five spot kicks, so we were now witnessing sudden death. Miller pulled a tremendous second save out of the bag for Morley’s eighth kick and then Ben Furey secured the 7-6 win on the night with his strike, resulting in only the second lifting of this cup in the club’s history.

I caught up with Connor after the match and asked him what he thought of his team’s performance and how they had prepared for this highlight of the season, “The team played brilliantly, we just kept our heads and enjoyed the match. Beforehand we said, if we concede, just get back up and get on with it.” He continued, “We were confident. We’ve done a lot of practising for penalties; we came through the last round on penalties, so we were prepared and just kept our heads and that was that. It’s brilliant!”

Glen Golding, Managing Director of Prefect Controls, the shirt sponsors of the team said, “This is a tremendous achievement for the lads, its great to see their hard work and determination pay off like this. Credit must go to the team, but also to all the support they have in terms of coaching staff, the FA and the match officials who make all this possible by taking their time and devoting it to such a worthwhile activity. Congratulations go to all involved.”