NWL U11 League Cup semi-final: Forest Green Rovers 2 CCCFC Whites 2 (aet, 4-5 on pens) Print
Season 14/15 - Under 11 White


Three League Cup semi-final appearances, three penalty shootouts. The Whites certainly know how to put their parents and coaches through the wringer.
Fortunately, as was the case in the Mid-Wilts equivalent 12 months ago, the Colts held their nerve when it mattered most to progress to the final at the expense of a very talented Forest Green Rovers side.
There were heroes all over the pitch in a rollercoaster ride that saw the underdogs take a two-goal lead, squander it during a five-minute blip, and then recover to carve out the better chances to score a winner before finally doing so when the tie came down to penalties after 80 pulsating minutes.
Max’s handling was exemplary throughout and he distributed the ball well under pressure. In front of him the pacy Callum showed his versatility by excelling in a defensive role alongside Bradley, whose trusty left boot and tenacity halted many Forest Green attacks. Luke S played through the pain barrier after an early injury setback and became increasingly influential with some incisive passing and tackling as the game wore on.
Matthew covered every blade of grass (and grain of sand) in a tireless display in the engine room and made telling contributions at both ends of the field, Toby, Luke VDB and George showcased their skills and one-on-one ability out wide to create numerous openings and Liam punched above his weight against bigger opponents.
Brandon H linked midfield and attack with some intelligent work and Brandon M delivered a towering performance as the line-leader up front, never giving the Forest Green back-line a minute’s rest.
All 11 of them share the man-of-the-match honours this week.
Colts had been taught something of a footballing lesson when the teams met at Combe back in September and knew they would need to be on top of their game to extend a remarkable unbeaten record in knockout competitions.
On a fast pitch that made intricate passing tricky for both teams, they made a bright start and – after a couple of scares that were expertly dealt with by Max, Bradley and Callum – they went ahead when Max’s long punt released Brandon M and he motored through to fire into the corner of the net.
He doubled his and the Colts’ tally early in the second half with a clinical back-post finish after Luke VDB burst down the left and sent over a dangerous cross that was flicked on by Liam.
Just as they did in the league meeting between the teams, Forest Green found a way back into the game thanks to a free-kick, which was dispatched with the aid of a deflection from the edge of the box. The manner in which it was conceded knocked the Colts from their stride and their hard-earned lead disappeared soon afterwards as Forest Green punished their inability to clear their lines during a scramble in the box.
Forest Green’s tails were up and Max, together with his defensive trio and midfield, needed to work hard to keep them at bay.
But the tide turned again and it was the Colts who went closest to finding a winning goal before the regular 60 minutes were up, with Toby forcing the keeper into a great save and Matthew’s looping effort just clearing the crossbar.
They went even closer in the first period of extra time, with George’s powerful effort drawing a great save from the keeper, Brandon M miskicking as he went to follow up and Brandon H drilling the loose ball against the inside of the post. Somehow the ball stayed out and the scores level.
Matthew’s curling free-kick from the left was superbly saved by the Forest Green keeper but play became less frantic as the legs became increasingly tired in the second ten-minute period and the penalty shootout that both sets of supporters were dreading became a reality with the referee’s final whistle.
Forest Green twice held the initiative as two of the Colts’ first three players missed the target. However, Max pulled off two majestic saves – the second particularly brilliant – to keep them in it. Matthew, Brandon M and Bradley all netted in confident fashion to take the shootout to sudden death, where Luke S and Liam both scored before Forest Green’s seventh taker clipped the outside of the post to confirm the Colts as winners of a dramatic contest.
What a game. What a performance. The mighty Croft Juniors Reds await in the final but not even they have made it to two in the same season. That is exactly what the Colts have done – beating some illustrious clubs in the process – and, whatever happens next, nobody can take that incredible achievement away.
Well done boys – you have done your club, your parents, your coaches and yourselves proud.
MOM: All of them!


Liam scores what proved to be the winning penalty



Child Welfare Officer


Mike Poole

T: 07789 722610

E: poolemichaeljames@



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