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Phoenix Rising to Chairman's Cup Final

Great morning to host the Semi Final of the Chairman's Cup today as we travelled to FC Burbage.

The sun was shining with beautiful clear skies and a hint of freshness in the air.

We discussed a plan and stuck to it as best we could, the plan was close them down fast, control the midfield and pass at pace and under no circumstances were we going to penalties.

With that said a confident team took to the field knowing the game plan and the bit between their teeth, as soon as the whistle blew we closed them down and almost immediately gained possession commencing a barrage of forward runs and attacks on goal. Burbage found themselves defending in their masses, pulling everyone back and flooding the goal to make it difficult to take a shot through the bodies. In the midst of this their goalkeeper pulled out saves galore.

23 minutes in and a run from the left along the side line from Jack allowed Mass to underlap a run and cut in for Jack to float a ball to his feet and Mass burying a half volley into the top left corner beyond the goalkeepers reach.

This gave us a great lift to keep going and gun for a second, we unfortunately just couldn't hit the back of the net with shots being fired in by Tom, Dan, Ollie, Evan and even AJ had a try, full credit to their goalkeeper who played a blinder to keep the ball out.

Half time soon came and Burbage were determined not to go down without a fight. They reshaped their formation a little to play more counter attacks but hitting high long balls and catch our defence out. They used the knowledge of their pitch knowing they would bounce unevenly behind our holding midfield of Lucas and AJ who had an excellent first half of successful control.

Fair play to our defensive line of Matty, Cameron, Luke and Jack, they did have a few mishap's but they equally pulled together and defended like their lives depended on it. On a couple of occasions Burbage managed to get a run on goal but our new resident goalkeeper Finn was on form, he was loud and confident in his play and decisions and keeping them at bay.

A long ball out from goalkeeper Finn led to a throw in close to the Burbage penalty area. Burbage had everyone back marking tightly, Evan was holding back about 30 yards out, Jack spotted this and Evan dribbled across to the front of the goal and curled in an absolute belter into the top corner of the goal, their goalkeeper had no chance to reach it.

Once again it lifted our spirits with more attacks on goal but we just couldn't quite succeed. Some fabulous runs from Ollie, Dan, Osayd and Mass who all had their chances but to no avail.

In the middle of the field Tom had some wonderful link up play through the middle and equally Evan did too.

In the dying minutes of the game frustration was creeping in with the Burbage team and some wild tackles were flying around which were brilliantly controlled by a firm handed referee who was having non of it from players or parents. unfortunately we gave away a free kick 30 yards out on the right side of the pitch just outside our penalty area.

Whether a cross or a shot I'm not quite sure but it floated over everyone leaving Finn scrambling backwards to get his finger tips to it going into the top right corner of the goal.

Phoenix knowing two minutes were left in the game all pulled together defending and counter attacking in the last seconds of the game with a brilliant run by Ollie beating two defenders to put in a lovely goal only for the whistle to blow and call the goal offside and game over.

A great 2-1 victory for Phoenix taking us into the Chairman's Cup Final. Today we saw some of the best pass and move tika taka football from Phoenix, equally it enabled us to control the flow of the game and have the majority of possession. In fairness we were unlucky not to get a few more goals and I feel we were the better team overall. We held our positions and progressively played forward, yes we could do with more target practice and yes we could do with high ball control, but lets not take it away from the boys they played really well and have deserved to get to the finals. I also believe we can win the cup, with a little more work over the next few weeks the cup will be within our grasp.

Man of the Match as voted by the team unanimously today goes to Evan.

P.S. massive thanks to our resident Lines man Danny and an extra special mention to all our wonderful cheering parents.

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