Fulledge Colts U14s travelled to Belgium to enter the Porte Des Fagnes Tournament and returned as runners-up having played in an older age category.
The team were drawn in a group with Tilleur F.C. (Belgium) and F.C. Stembertoioise (France).
A tight game with Tilleur F.C. ended with a narrow defeat, despite the Colts having the larger share of possession and the better chances. Strong midfield play by Jack Burrows, Cameron Lancaster and Matthew Howarth helped the Colts gain control of the game and their smart use of the ball, aligned with intelligent movement in the channels from Reid Wolstenholme, opened the opposing defence time and again, yet Fulledge were unable to convert their chances. Aidan Duffy was outstanding at right back to nullify the threat carried by a tricky winger.
A similarly dominant performance against a technically sound FC Stembertoiose from France was to follow, with two superbly taken, long-distance goals from Duffy and Ben Ashton sealing the victory. Jake Woodward provided pace and power on the wing to trouble the FC Stembertoiose defence throughout, whilst the partnership of Burrows and Lancaster in midfield was getting stronger by the game.
Fulledge Colts qualified for the finals on goal difference and played RSC Verviers U14. After a subdued opening period, the Colts’ managed to wrestle momentum from the opposition.
Strong defensive play from Liam Gidley, Leon Stubbs, James Billington and Ethan Slater proved crucial, as did lone striker Thomas Keellings, whose hold-up play allowed Fulledge to eventually establish possession. A well-taken goal from Josh McRae and Ben Ashton header, sandwiched between an outstanding save from Luke Cocker, secured a 2-0 win for the Colts.
The final game was against RSC Verviers U15’s, who provided the greatest test of the weekend. They had already racked up heavy scorelines of 13-1 and 7-0, as well as a 4-1 victory against Southend United Academy.
This, however, did not overawe the younger Colts, who were competitive throughout against an outstanding U15’s team. Despite losing 2-0, the pace of Conor Morgan and the trickery of Nathaniel Anderson created opportunities that the Colts should have done better with. Fulledge were, nevertheless, commended by opposition players and management for their performance.
Coach, Alex Norwood’s comments:-
The efforts of the boys across the two days was exceptional; their levels of application against teams in an older age group was pleasing to see, as was the way they adapted to playing against different teams from different countries. Once again, their impeccable behaviour throughout was a credit to themselves and their families, as well as Fulledge Colts YFC. Despite not winning, there were plenty of learning opportunities for the boys and I’m sure these will prove to be extremely valuable for them and their long-term development. The boys could not stop smiling all weekend - I’m proud of them all, they were brilliant.