St Matt’s footballers play in front of 10,000!

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On Friday 30th January, the Year 6 football team played in the Football League Kinder Kids Cup. Every football team in the football league held a tournament for the local schools to compete in to represent the local football club (Luton Town FC). The winner of the tournament would play the final at Kenilworth Road the following day at half time in front of over 10,000 football fans in the Luton Town vs Cambridge United match.

St Matthew’s played a round robin of three matches against Ramridge Primary School and Ferrars Junior School. The team with the most points would qualify for the final at Kenilworth Road.

The boys kicked off their first match against Ferrars with a convincing 2-1 victory with both goals coming from Dimitrius with Shakeel providing both assists from long shots that the goalkeeper couldn’t handle.

The next match saw the boys defeated by Ramridge 2-0 in a game the boys where worked their socks off and deserved at least one goal.

It was time to play Ferrars again where the boys held their heads up high and played for the 100% record against them. Lots of shots at goal and plenty of passing a moving saw the St Matthew’s win 1-0 courtesy of a fine placed shot from the captain, Shakeel.

With Ramridge, unbeaten so far, it was the our turn to play them again. A defeat would see Ramridge firmly in the hot seat for the final. The boys played solidly, with great saves from Aman in goal. Defence was strong, playing safe and making great tackles. With neither team able to break the deadlock the match result was 0-0. St Matthew’s could have done with a win but a draw still made it mathematically possible.

Without a break, the St Matthew’s boys were straight back on to play against Ferrars for the last time. They started very confidently with lots of positive play coming from the boys. Josh, playing up front, pounced on a rebound shot saved by the keeper to put the boys 1-0 early on in the game. They looked comfortable in the lead and were pressing into the final third. Ferrars caught St Matthew’s on the counter attack and shot at goal where Aman made a fantastic save. Without delay, Aman found Josh up top, who collected the ball, took it round the defender where he was then met by the goalkeeper rushing out from his area. Josh very skilfully knocked the ball over the keeper’s head,running on to the ball and chesting it down in the goal. Josh has played in the school football team since he was in year 5 but had previously struggled to find the net. His confidence was sky-high after scoring not just his first ever goal for St Matthew’s but his second in the same game. With minutes left of the game, the match was all but won, a win that would put pressure on Ramridge and almost guarantee qualification to Kenilworth Road. But … concentration for the boys went and Ferrars pulled a goal back. The boys had to play defensively as Ferrars began to consistently attack. Within the dying seconds Ferrars equalised and the game was drawn.

At this point in time, St Matthew’s and Ramridge had 8 points each, however Ramridge had a game in hand and still had to play St Matthew’s. The boys needed Ramridge to draw against Ferrars. St Matthew’s boys nervously watched on, in what was a very tense game. The boys couldn’t believe it, the final whistle went and it was a draw. This meant the final match between Ramridge and St Matthew’s was all or nothing. Ramridge only had to avoid defeat to secure a place in the final.

Before the match our joint captains, Shakeel and Theo, called the squad in for a huddle and an inspirational team talk. The boys looked raring to go and knew what was at stake. The game kicked off, a lot of passing and moving from Ramridge and a few shots that Aman grasped firmly. Lemar played the ball forward to Dimitirus who just missed the target. With only two minutes left, it was still 0-0, not a result St Matthew’s wanted. Arnis entered the field of play and instantly caused stress to the Ramridge defence, earning his team a corner. Everyone pushed up to try and grab a goal. Shakeel played the ball in low and hard where Dimitrius poked his foot out and the ball strolled into the back of the net … 1-0 to the boys. Shakeel and Dimitruis ran to congratulate each other with what were the biggest smiles they had on their face all day. Mr Dymock, Mr Chaplen and Mr Horton reminded the boys to keep their heads in the game as it was not over. About 45 seconds on the clock and Ramridge were pressing. A very nervy 45 seconds that felt like 45 minutes. The whistle went and the boys couldn’t believe it. They were going to Kenilworth Road.

On the day of the match, the excitement was high for the boys. Upon arriving at the stadium and seeing how many fans were inside made the moment even more surreal. The boys watched what was a very exciting first half with Luton Town going 3-0 up and all the goals being scored just in front of them.

The half time whistle went and it was time for the boys to enter the field of play. The boys walked very professionally in a line towards the halfway line where they would be playing against Arnold Middle School from Barton. Although the boys lost 2-0, they all played tremendously and made everyone very proud of them.

Just before the start of the second half, the boys did a lap of honour and walked around the edge of the pitch waving to the applauding crowd.

They got back in their seats and watched the second half where Cambridge clawed 2 goals back in the game with the end result being 3-2.

Not only did the boys play at Kenilworth Road, but they also met two Luton Town Footballers; Mark Cullen and Paul Benson as well as the Luton mascot, Harry the Hatter.

The boys thoroughly enjoyed their day out which they very much deserved and although they didn’t win, they couldn’t have made their teachers any prouder.

Team: Addam, Aman, Arnis, Cory, Dimitrius, Josh, Lemar, Shakeel (capt), Theo (capt)

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