Match Report By: Dave Stockdale
On Saturday 29th May Walney Island FC Under 9s made the long trip up the coast to Whitehaven to compete in the Cleator Moor Celtic FC Junior Football Tournament. Finding themselves the only
representative from the Barrow & District Junior Football League, Walney were up against 9 other teams who all play in the competitive West Cumbria League.
Walney are notorious slow starters and seemed to be 'still on the bus' as they started the group games with an unconvincing 1-1 draw against a busy Cockermouth side who never gave up and scored their equaliser with the last kick of the game. This shocked Walney into action and in the next two games the Island youngsters showed their true ability with 1-0 wins over a well organised Windscale (Egremont) and as the name suggests a very physical Maryport Monsters.
These two wins ensured Walney won their group and qualified for the knock-out phase with a game to spare. The final group game allowed Walney to change things around and resulted in a 4-0 loss to the home team Cleator Moor Celtic who needed to win their final game to qualify for the semi-finals.
In the semi-final Walney now faced their arch-rivals from a number of tournaments last season, a very attack minded Allerdale Leisure (Workington), the game started at a fast pace with Allerdale pouring forward at every opportunity however the Walney defence stood firm until the turning point of the game. A fierce shot was brilliantly saved by the Walney keeper however the Allerdale players and supporters were convinced the ball had crossed the line and with the Allerdale players still appealing for a goal Walney broke upfield and scored to take the semi 1-0 and their first ever win over the Workington side.
Walney were now in the final against group rivals and home favourites Cleator Moor Celtic who had a shock win over a classy St. Bees outfit in the second semi-final. A big partisan crowd and the Celtic players expected a home win especially after the 4-0 victory in the group stage, however Walney had other ideas and reverted to their tried and trusted formation which had served them well in the semi-final. Celtic were now facing a very different Walney side and this appeared to confuse the Whitehaven side as they threw everything at Walney however the defence this time round was solid and apart from a couple of corners Celtic never really got close to the Walney goal. Walney continued their 'smash and grab' football when a low shot from outside the box found the bottom corner of the Celtic net and a 1-0 win saw the trophy head south along the A595.
At the final whistle the players, coaches, parents and supporters were jubilant at a well deserved victory especially for a team who play 'non-competitive' football against sides who are all involved in full league football.
Walney Island U9s would like to thank their coaches, parents and supporters for all their hard work and support of the team.