South Coast Flame’s NPL2 Youth Boys teams travelled to Bathurst over the weekend in the annual Challenge Cup which pits regional teams with NPL clubs. A big thank you to Bathurst Football Association for hosting a wonderful event. The boys, their parents and coaches all enjoyed their weekend and it was great to see our teams perform admirably.
This was the 13 Boys’ first visit to Bathurst for this Cup competition and credit to the squad for an excellent Cup debut.
In the opening couple of games on Saturday, Flame started a little tentatively having edged out Wagga City Wanderers 2-1 before battling out a competitive 0-0 draw with the locals – Western NSW.
Sunday brought out some excellent football from the young lads. They started the day with a 3-1 win over Macarthur before disposing Blacktown FA 6-1 to top the group with three wins and a draw.
Facing NPL1 club Manly in the Quarter Finals, the boys were not overawed as they raced out to an early lead before the opposition mounted a comeback however the boys showed great character to finish with an impressive 5-2 win.
Up against a very good Marconi team in the Semi Final, the boys went down 3-0. They improved in the second half however couldn’t overcome the deficit against the eventual winners.
Overall the team displayed a high standard of football at the Bathurst Cup. From hattricks and Birthday goals, to brilliant saves and shot blocks, the boys showed great maturity to stick to our philosophy and execute our style of play. They did themselves, their parents and the Flame proud.
We’re all looking forward to a successful season ahead for these boys.
Equally impressive was the 14 Boys. Some great results, but more importantly some excellent performances and goals scored. In fact, the boys recorded four wins, a draw and a loss from their six matches scoring 12 goals and having conceded just 2.
The boys topped their group following a 2-0 win over Wagga City Wanderers, a 5-1 win over Emu Plains, a 4-0 win over Blacktown FA and a like the 13’s a 0-0 draw with Western NSW.
There were some remarkable similarities with both the 13 and 14 Boys.
Facing Manly in the Quarter Finals, Flame controlled the match and dominated possession to record a narrow 1-0 win.
The Semi Final was an extremely difficult encounter against a talented Marconi side who was brushing everyone before them to this point. The opposition took an early lead and Flame did remarkably well to stay in the contest up until half time. The boys took it to their more fancied opponents in the second half however they were unable to penetrate them as they took the game 1-0 thus ending our tournament.
Overall, an excellent weekend with the boys improving as the weekend went on and this will give the boys a lot of impetus as we get closer to the start of the new season.
The 15 Boys are a new look team with no less than seven new faces. Apart from the football, this was a fantastic weekend for the boys to bond.
The boys started the tournament with a narrow but hard fought 0-1 loss to Marconi (who by the way went on to win the tournament) before comfortable wins over Blacktown FA and Prospect left group progression in their own destiny with a game to go.
Despite losing to the Cup winners, the boys took great heart from the fact that they were super competitive and perhaps on another day, the result could have been different.
A well executed high press plan came up trumps in the final group match against Manly FA where the boys starved the opposition of possession resulting in a 2-1 win which secured a position in the Quarter Finals.
The Quarter Final against Western NSW didn’t quite start as planned. After going down by two early, the boys showed great character and resilience fighting back to lead 3-2 midway through the second half however the locals managed to find an equaliser against the run of play. The game finished a draw in regulation time. The home side were fortunate to get what turned out to be a winning “Golden Goal” in Extra Time to end the boys’ tournament.
Credit to the boys as they were united and showed the upmost professionalism in defeat. They should be proud of their efforts, a narrow loss against the eventual winners and a golden goal loss against the runners up just shows how exciting the 2020 season will be for them.
The 16 Boys returned as defending Champions and eager for another strong run deep into the tournament.
First up was Blacktown Districts and after a scrappy first half, the boys started playing their game and went on to record a comfortable 2–0 win.
Next was NPL 1 powerhouse Marconi Stallions and Coach Ben Schmid had the boys primed for a big effort. A relentless press from the opening whistle saw the boys more than match their more technically gifted opponents and come away with a hard fought 0–0 draw.
Having played some quality football against Marconi, confidence was high heading into their final game late on day one where they cruised to a 4-0 win over Prospect FC.
Day two saw our final group game against Manly FC and top spot in the group up for grabs. The boys came back from a goal down to record a 3-1 win and top the group having scored the most goals – a fantastic achievement considering the opposition in this group.
The boys went on to play Sutherland FA in a rematch of last year’s AYL Grand Final and there was no need for further motivation. The boys produced arguably their best performance of the tournament in a resounding 3-0 win.
The Semi Final was a match up against fellow NPL 2 opponents – Nepean FC. After a scoreless first half, the boys went down a goal and with elimination looming, the boys dug deep into their reserves and snatched an equaliser with virtually the last kick of regulation time.
This sent the game into Extra Time and Golden Goal however neither side could find a winner and penalties decided the winner with our boys gallantly going down 4-5 in the shootout.
Coach Ben was extremely proud of the boys’ efforts over a gruelling two days in the heat with only 14 players. He was pleased they played quality football in dominating AYL opponents and more than matched their NPL counterparts. This should give the boys plenty of confidence heading into their first season of NPL 2 football.
It should be noted that the boys were undefeated in regulation time recording 4 wins – 2 Draws, 13 Goals for and just 2 against. This showed last year was no fluke and were more than worthy defending champions.
As club, we are extremely proud of our coaching staff who prepared well for this tournament and our focus now turns to the season ahead which kicks off on 7 March.