1st June saw United playing in the first of four Summer tournaments, the Sun Postal 5-a-side.
We took a squad of 8 players looking to improve on the Q-Final and S-Final places that Athletic and Pumas achieved two years ago.
We were drawn in a qualifying group with Park Street Village, Sun Postal Yellow and Cassiobury Rangers.
With just 10 minutes per game, in the first tie of the event we played out a cagey first 7 or 8 minutes against Sun Postal, before conceding a goal with a couple of minutes to go after losing concentration and allowing our work rate to drop when the draw was looking like the most likely result.
With only four teams in the group, losing the first game left us needing to really win both of our remaining qualification games to stand a change of finishing in the top two and qualifying for the knock-out stages of the cup.
Our second game drew us against Park Street who had won their first game 2 – o against Cassiobury.
We started the game much brighter and seemed to have the lion share of the possession in the first few minutes although another lapse in concentration and work rate allowed Park Street through on goal early on and Park Street could consider themselves mighty unlucky to have not been awarded a penalty when Matt was forced to dive at their players feet.
This seemed to work as a bit of a wake-up call for us and we started to pile on the pressure again and Adam broke the deadlock to put us 1-0 up.
We continued to work the ball around well but another case of not defending as a team meant we then conceded an equaliser before Adam scored again to put us 2-1 up and Ben neatly rounded the keeper to send us 3-1 up.
As seems to have been the way for the latter part of the season we did not close the game down at that point and did concede another goal to finish the game with a 3-2 victory.
The third game saw us up against Cassiobury, who had lost both of their opening games, knowing that we needed to win by at least two goals to guarantee a spot in the cup knock-out stages.
We again started forcefully and whilst it took a little while to come, Ben eventually scored to put us 1 – 0 up and then again to go 2 – 0 up. This was the scoreline we needed but yet again we made lives difficult for ourselves by leaving the game too open allowing Cassiobury to register a goal, reducing the margin to just one goal, with only a minute or so to go.
With the score of that game ending 2 -1 to us, that left us waiting on the result of the Sun Postal v Park Street game, which Sun Postal fortunately ran out winners of to top the group, having won all of their games, with United coming second with 2 wins and a loss.
Finishing second in the group gave us a much tougher draw for the Quarter-Final and we were pitted against Bessingbury Park, a top division side from the Harrow Youth League.
Whilst we battled well, Bessingbury proved to be a much more dynamic team than ourselves with great pace and movement which we struggled to live with. We conceded in the first few minutes and then did well to keep them from scoring again but did not make the most of the few chances we did create to really threaten their place in the semi-final. The final score ended 1-0 to Bessingbury.
Having won 2 and lost 2 games, it was not the most successful of tournaments for us, although a good morning out in the glorious sunshine.
Ben(3) and Adam(2) scored all of our goals, which was probably well deserved as they were probably the two most consistent players today over the matches we played.