U14's County Cup 3rd Round: Chilwell 2 - Toot Hill 2 (Chilwell 4-3 penalties)
Chilwell under 14's were victorious on Thursday afternoon after an attritional encounter with one of the best School Teams in The County, last years finalists Toot Hill...the game required sudden death penalties to decide a winner.
Missing two first choice players at kick off, and losing another shortly before half time all with injuries, the plucky Swans had to dig deep many times in this game. Both teams will have felt they deserved to win, but in the end, maybe The Swans just wanted it that bit more.
Last year Chilwell were eliminated from The South Notts Cup by Toot Hill, losing 3-2 to a last minute goal. This year, determined to make a difference, they put on an incredible show of togetherness and resilience to make it through against the odds.
The first half started with Toot Hill putting significant pressure on the Swans, controlling possession, and at times Chilwell struggled to get out of their own half and play the flowing passing game they are used to. Missing midfield dynamo Will G, Swans had stuck with the 433 formation, but were missing Will's ability to win the ball and recycle possession and struggled to maintain their rhythm as a result, a situation worsened by the loss of another midfielder due to injury midway through the first half.
Just as Chilwell appeared to be regaining a foothold midway through the 1st half, Toot Hill scored, with a speculative long range effort that just evaded the tip of the gloves of Swans' keeper, Jacob B. Although he got a fingertip to the ball then caught it, this was judged correctly to have crossed the line. Magnificent throughout the game, this was a mistake that did not define this keeper's game at all, but did showcase the superb impartial refereeing of Ollie A and his linesman team of Jake B and Luke B who were once again praised by the opposition manager for their fairness throughout.
Despite soaking up much pressure in the first half, the teams went in with Chilwell 1-0 down. The defence was strong and resilient, and the keeper well organised, doing the simple things well, but things needed to change.
Half time provided a chance to regroup. Changing shape completely to a traditional but untested 442, the team emerged keen to overturn the deficit and were jogging back onto the pitch early, focused and with the manager instructions to get hold of the game in midfield ringing in their ears.
They did, immediately, and it paid off. Within 5 minutes Alfie W took a through ball with a superb touch, and brought down by a panicked Toot Hill defender, it was Alfie who won, and cooly dispatched the penalty. 1-1.
Within 5 more minutes, it was 2-1 to Chilwell, a cross, a scramble, and another top corner finish from 'goal machine' Kheone D who continued his incredible run of scoring in every game this season (this was Chilwell under 14's 4th win in 4 games).
Within 10 minutes the game was turned on its head and Toot Hill were briefly stunned, down, but not out. Toot Hill regained their composure eventually, and regained control of possession and the game. With many players missing, Chilwell looked stretched in midfield. But they dug deep, survived a disallowed goal scare, at times hanging on with some strong defending, and nearly nicked a last minute equaliser 3 minutes from time as Kheone D almost added his 2nd with a close range effort.
This Swans' cohort was eliminated last year by a last minute goal to Toot Hill, poetic though it may have been for Kheone to finish the game this way, it was not to be.
The game would go to penalties.
Toot Hill won the toss, and opted to take the first penalty. With Chilwell's outfield players linking arms in solidarity on the halfway line, it fell to Jacob B alone to face down the Toot Hill captain for the first penalty.
The Toot Hill player looked confident stepping up, but Jacob incredibly read the direction of his shot, and got down to make a superb save. 0-0
The first Swans' penalty was taken by Olli L. Though not keen on being the first penalty taker, he did not disappoint and with nerves of steel coolly slotted home, sending the keeper the wrong way. 1-0
The 2nd Toot Hill penalty was put away comfortably, sending Jacob the wrong way this time. 1-1
The 2nd Chilwell penalty was coolly put away by regular penalty taker Alfie W. 2-1
And then, for Toot Hill penalty number 3, Jacob once again, saved. 2-1 still!
As Theo St D dispatched and scored penalty 3 with a low effort that crept through the goalkeepers gloves, it was 3-1 to Chilwell with two penalties to go.
Toot Hill scored their 4th, but as Leo L stepped up to take penalty 4, a goal would win it for The Swans.....a low effort to the keepers right was spectacularly saved by the excellent Toot Hill keeper.
Toot Hill scored their 5th, but again, as captain fantastic Isaac Mcleod stepped up for penalty 5, a goal would win it.....and after a retake, his penalty was saved once again by the impressive Toot Hill keeper.
Not to be outdone by his opposite number, Jacob B had more to say....and as the teams went to sudden death penalties, Jacob once again pulled out an heroic save to give The Swans one more chance at victory.
Evan S knew he had the chance to win it and as he stepped up, a player with much technical skill his manager knew he had the ability to do it, shouts of 'go on Evan' could be heard from the expectant Chillwell supporters...and Scott held his nerve to coolly slot home into the left corner, again leaving the ailing keeper stranded. It was a great moment for one of the team's leaders on the pitch who has missed the first 3 games this season with injury. He returned just in time to win the game with a fine penalty.
Jubilation followed as The Swans streamed over to Evan and celebrated at the corner flag...and they all showed superb sportsmanship as they abandoned the celebrations to greet the departing Toot Hill players to shake hands after a thrilling encounter that epitomised the beautiful game at its finest.
A truly nail-biting encounter (even for a manager who never normally bites his nails) and a real statement victory from this team as they progressed to the quarter final of The County Cup, eliminating last year's finalists in the process. This is a team full of heart, resilience and skill with many leaders on the pitch - they will surely be tough opposition for any team in The County.
After this thrilling encounter, Chilwell under 14's (and their supporters) won't have to wait long for the next game, next week (again at home) in the third round of the ESFA cup against ....... last year's County Cup Winners Rushcliffe!
Should be another fascinating tie!
Man of the match: Jacob B - all of this whilst playing a year up!
Well done Jacob! And well done to the whole team.