Tigers Earn 3rd Place at Fleet Spurs Tournament
Tigers save best for last in solid tournament performance
Nine Tigers put on a solid performance in their first tournament of the summer at Fleet Spurs. On a warm Sunday afternoon that was occasionally dampened by rain showers, Hearts faced six twelve minute matches in this very well organised 6-a-side competition. The first group stage pitted our youngsters against regular foes Camberley Town Rebels plus Chineham Tigers and the local Fleet Town Lions.
Camberley got off to a flying start against the Lions whilst the two Tigers played out a dour 0-0 draw. Hearts stayed on the pitch to take on Fleet Town and put them to the sword in a similar vein to the Rebels, notching up three points with a 2-1 victory. Hearts played some good football with Eli, who had a particularly impressive afternoon, opening the scoring; the goal conceded was down to a rather weak flapped hand from the normally immaculate Matt, who was to play every minute of every game.
The group decider was the final game between Rebels & Hearts, Chineham having secured a wonderful and unexpected 3-3 draw with Rebels. Hearts had by far the better of the opening exchanges but could not find a way through the Rebels' defence. Rebels had two excellent players who were always likely to make the difference but it was two very scratchy goals that secured a 0-2 victory for Rebels.
Nevertheless, both teams had done enough to qualify for the "Champions League", along with a very free scoring Hounslow Greens and Oxshott Royals from the bottom half of the group stage.
The opening game saw Rebels and Tigers meet in an immediate rematch. This time, Rebels started as they had finished and soon built up another two goal advantage. Tigers clawed one back through arch-poacher Gabe whose Gabriel Jesus-like celebration was definitely the best of the afternoon. Alex had to leave the field with a nasty looking ankle injury and Matt then had his second, and last mishap, of the day, letting a fairly soft shot slip through his hands for Rebels' third and conclusive goal. In the end, Tigers did well to keep it to 1-3 as the shots rained in on Matt's goal who more than made up for his earlier faux pas.
The Greens and Royals played out a 0-0 and the Rebels continued their march on the silverware with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Royals. A tired looking Tigers six took to the field to take on Greens and were well and truly ambushed, going down 0-3. That set up Greens and Rebels to meet for the trophy and twelve minutes of excellent football saw Rebels secure the title with a 2-2 draw being enough.
The last game of the afternoon was thus for third place between Tigers and Oxshott Royals. And suddenly Hearts were completely revitalised and playing their best football of the afternoon. Within three minutes, Hayden had opened the scoring on the end of a lovely move involving Henry, Eli and Gabe in the build-up. Two minutes later, Eli capped his afternoon with a great turn and shot to put Tigers 2-0 in the lead. A further two minutes saw Gabe galloping away towards the Royals' penalty box leaving defenders in his week, tucking away a low finish with great composure.
So a 3-0 victory gave Hearts a hard-earned 3rd place and the boys headed for home with smiles on their faces. Joe, Tommy, Toby and the aforementioned six all played their part. And you're always as good as your last