Mick and Hazel at League Awards
Yesterday was the girls North Valley and Burnley Unity Youth League awards afternoon in Colne. Both the Langho FC U12girls and U14girls played in these leagues last season. The U12s had a great season as I hope the match reports demonstrated, and yesterday Hazel was awarded U12 Goalkeeper of the Season, a fantastic achievement, especially as this was her first season in the nets. In the previous 2 seasons the girls have been taking turns in goal with no regular keeper. Having said that, Chloe now has also enthusiastically started goalie training and I have seen and heard great things about Annaleigh for the U14 too. The keeper award was determined by opposition managers at each match scoring the keepers out of 10. Over the season Hazel has pulled off some great saves and shot stopping and her distribution of the ball has been coming on leaps and bounds. From the early days of the girls team she has been brave, something all the girls have shown, and she seems to have the ‘crazy goalie gene’ (no idea where that comes from)!
Thanks must go to Mick and the club for all the efforts to support keepers including the Keeper Coaching recently from Andy and before him Steve. Additionally thanks to Carl, as an ex-keeper, for his enthusiasm with Hazel and warm-ups on match days. Between them they have turned a position that can feel thankless and lacking in glory to a key position leading attacks from the back built on an U12 solid group of defenders and midfield tracking back. Keeper training has proved fun and bred confidence in all those participating (and kept the car valeting companies in the Ribble Valley in business too)! Thanks also go out to the crowd on the side lines for boundless encouragement; win, lose or draw.
Can’t wait for next season. The soon to be U13 girls steps up to 9-a-side and are looking for more players to join in the fun. If anyone knows any more girls that might be interested in joining our friendly team, just encourage them to come along to tasters at Friday evening practices at The Rydings including on the new 3G pitch. Matches will be on Sundays there too on the new 9-a-side pitch planned.
A little damp start at the Globe tournament but an all round good performance. Winning 1st game 2-0 against the hosts Globe. In the 2nd match against St Joseph’s getting a draw 1-1, a great come back. 3rd match against Whalley losing 2-1 but a fabulous volley in the last minute from Whalley to nick the win. This same team won the Langho tournament only a few weeks ago. Just showing how far our team has come. Last match of the group against Westgate losing 2-1. But still got through to the quarter finals against Fulledge Colts, drawing 1-1 and then losing on penalties. A great day for all our lads, many thanks to our supporters not just today but throughout the season.
Possibly the last man of the match for the season is undoubtably Barney Peacock !
The powers that be at Mellor must have a deal with the big man upstairs.
All season they endure wind and rain and cold, but come tournament weekend, they are guaranteed glorious sunshine!
An early start for the under 9’s, but we made a steady start against a resilient Globe Bullough Park.
A single goal from Finn gave Langho 3 points on the board.
We found our feet against Mill Hill Red, and goals from Brad, Benji, Mac and a second for Finn (along with another clean sheet for Thomas and the solid defenders Jack and Joe) gave us 6 points and guaranteed a semi-final place.
Chance to rest and rotate players and give the goalie a run out.
Despite the disruption, we were still too strong for my pre-tournament favourites – St.Josephs. A deserved goal for Harrison, and the goal of the tournament for Sasi; a well taken volley into the top corner! St.Joseph’s managed to squeeze a solitary consolation goal.
Hopes were high as we topped the group, and drew Group B’s runners up Mellor.
The break between games didn’t favour us and we looked sluggish as we lined up against a buoyant Mellor, but we took the lead with a great finish from Mac. Mellor drew level before half time with a well taken free kick that took an unfortunate deflection.
A couple of turned ankles on the baked Mellor turf and some tired legs left Langho struggling a bit, and Mellor just edged it.
2 – 1 and our cup run was over
A great effort from all the lads – we’ll get them next time!
Mellor went on to win the tournament.
Despite the vagaries of the weather from persistent rain on Saturday to glorious sunshine on Sunday, until the final presentation, the one consistent was the skill and effort applied by all the teams from across East Lancs who took part.
All visiting clubs were very complimentary about the excellent organisation of the event which was down to the many club volunteers who ran teams, refereed and marshaled car parking. Special mention should be made of the work carried out in the administration and setting up of this years tournament by Lynne and Mike.
Founders of Langho FC international supporters club
Langho FC recently donated a large amount of old football kits to Kits4Causes. Kits4Causes take football shirts, shorts, socks, boots plus equipment and donate them to charities all over the world. The first of our donations arrived in The Philippines recently – I’m sure the players will have as much enjoyment playing football in them as ours did.
Some of us learned of a ‘planned’ return of the Dads and Daughters match as we relaxed after the U12 girls presentation. This time a team of 6 were pulled together from some of the U12 and U14 dads and coaches to face the mighty hoards of girls longing to treat them to a hearty helping of humble pie. With ill-placed confidence the dads decided they could have a rush keeper. The girls soon lobbed one craftily from distance into an open net on the counter attack. The dads were again overcommitted up front, lost possession and were punished again 2-0. With a few cries of ‘right enough-enough’ the dads conceded they needed a keeper, he (well I) was well beaten by Annaleigh in the bottom left: 3-0.
The dads resorted to using their height until after a selection of missed chances they volleyed one into the net only to then find themselves 4-1 down shortly after. With the timely arrival of Gary with fresh legs, the score crept back to 4-4 including 2 headed goals; one direct from corner. The girls continued to push forward but a downpour set in and numbers dwindled signalling the end of the game. The dads scraped in another goal, but a draw would be a fairer result. A thoroughly enjoyable kick about. Here’s to hoping we get another return fixture as a few of last season’s veterans missed out this time thanks to the half-term break….. plus the dads need another chance before the girls get better again and severely tear us apart this time!
Return of the Dads and Daughters Game
Thanks again to Mick and the Club for organising another enjoyable presentation day and their support throughout the season. From 4 nominees, Annie was awarded player’s player of the season for her tireless efforts both in defence and midfield, not to mention to the score sheet. Issy was awarded Manager’s player of the season for her battling lone striker efforts which got her the golden boot too. The U12 girls have had an unbelievable season having beaten the league winners and indeed all the teams in the league at different points except Lytham: An amazing journey and worthy of their efforts over the 3 seasons since they started playing together. Although they finished fourth, they were only a few points shy of a much higher finish and 20 points clear of the teams below them. The girls won 10 games, drew 1 and lost 9 across all competitions. The skills the girls displayed were a tribute to the commitment and enthusiasm Mick has put in setting them in a great position for next season as Garry takes over as their U13 coach armed with a bunch of enthusiastic helpers and Barmy Army followers on the touchline. Mick will be continuing to work with the new group of U10 girls, so we look forward to the fruits of this effort too. Following the presentation came the long awaited return of the Dads and Daughters match bolstered by the U14 Girls and their parents.
This was the last League fixture of the season away to a particularly skilled and organised Lytham YMCA team who were the only side the girls have not beaten at some point. The girls had a full team of 7 and 2 substitutes on this warm and sunny evening on the west coast.
In the first half the girls played directly into the sun and had to defend and battle in midfield which they characteristically did with occasional attacks and it was nearly 15 minutes before the girls went behind. They were 3-0 down at the halftime whistle, despite the defensive efforts of Laura and Annie and trademark support from Amelia in midfield and Hazel in goal. We notably even saw a combination of Chloe and Alice ‘skilling’ two of the YMCA midfielders which brought a particular smile to the faithful.
The second half saw more chances from the girls with Annie pushed into midfield. Annie had a shot saved, a battling Issy saw shots saved and even one deflected onto the post from a Lytham defender, more determined runs and tackling from Amelia and a shot saved from Lara; all of which forced pressured clearances from YMCA defence and corners given away too. Laura made a selection of boomers from defence and Hazel reflex saves and clearances. Occasional standing off momentarily from YMCA attacks in numbers allowed them time to shoot from distance meant conceding YMCA two more goals from open play and another from a headed corner leaving a 6-0 final score. Amelia was voted Man of the Match by the opposition and Annie too had a blinder too.
This game left the girls an uncatchable 4th in the league table for the season, with 24 points right in the mix with the other top 3 teams having beaten all of them over the course of the season with the exception of Lytham. This was an amazing achievement for the girls and Mick backed by the small barmy army of enthusiastic supporters and helpers.. The girls have been a joy to watch building on a great core team, there have been new players turning out and improving performances. None of the entourage would have believed on that boggy wet Sunday morning away at Myerscough at the start of the season, they were to win 10-0 and go on to win 8 out of 15 league fixtures after the 2 previous seasons of systematic defeats with only a few wins and a draw. Over the last 3 years Mick has installed some real footballing skills in this team and the other girls that have been involved over the period. The group have a ‘never-say-die’ spirit, high work ethic and always play fair. The season has seen the girls beat last year’s champions both 1:0 and 5:0, not seen heads drop even when the score line turned harshly against them or size and physical tactics of the opposition could have taken their toll. The younger players should be congratulated, including Alice and Chloe, who have often played up against girls twice their size. So just the club awards ceremony, perhaps a Consolation Cup final and friendlies to go. There was talk of a tournament too and hopefully a return of the enjoyable (if exhausting) Dads and Daughters game? We can’t wait to find out what is in store next season hopefully with even more new player to join in the fun. Thanks Mick for the last 3+years of dedication and effort- from all of us.
Thursday’s evening League fixture was a home fixture against Lytham YMCA who already proved themselves to be a formidable and well organised team with several outstanding players in earlier games this season: They are arguably the best team in the league. Our girls have never been daunted by such a prospect and have proved on many occasions how they can face and even beat similarly strong opposition this season.
The game kicked off with 2 chances for Langho and several for YMCA at our end. On the balance of play YMCA had the upper hand, but some good tackling and fine saves kept the girls in the game coupled with some strong and determined attacks. One such was a set of four passes that carved through the YMCA with Annie putting her shot narrowly wide. After going 1-0 down halfway through the half, YMCA’s well drilled play and organisation found a way through our midfield and defence so there followed a close succession of 4 more goals to leave the girls 0-5 down at halftime.
In the second period the girls continued to attack, but conceded 3 more goals in the first 10minutes. Team changes allowed the core team to settle down with strong performances from Issy upfront against a dogged opposition defence, Amelia all over the park, Laura and Annie as well as Alice on the wing eyes-down harrying their players and putting in some great tackles against somewhat bigger girls! Langho defended corners strongly and Hazel met many of the crosses well, so much so YMCA began marking our keeper which involved a 3-way battle between Hazel, Annie and their designated physical marker. Laura put in another of her calling card long range efforts which was well saved and Amelia and Laura even put together a combination of 2 headers – a first for our girls. Langho had the last word in shots at the final whistle leaving a harsh final score of 0-8.
The last 20minutes performance was particularly good for the girls and their really commendable never-say-die attitude shone through once more. They certainly deserved goals, but it was not to be in this fixture. Hazel was man-of-the-match in goal for her very good performance and Annie made a real difference in defence backing up Laura and when she surged forward.
The next and final league fixture is in 2 weeks time away to YMCA. There probably is also a league Consolation Cup final for the girls against Cadley and a chance for silverware against a team Langho have beaten and lost to twice so far over the season; so we look forward to the decider! Mick also wants the girls to enter some tournaments too.