Last Sunday our Slough Town Community Team participated in the Dairy Crest Cup hosted by AFC Bournemouth.
This was a huge honour for us considering Southampton and West Ham United had also been invited.
Despite setting off very early plus losing a couple of players overnight to illness, Slough's young side surprised the opposition with 4 wins, 2 draws and a single defeat.
Due to the round robin format being based on points plus goals scored, this meant we went into our final game knowing we could lose but just needed to score once to win the tournament.
The mathematics simply appeared to confuse our team and despite a valiant attempt we went down 2-0 to the hosts AFC Bournemouth which secured them third place, and we were resigned to a play off against Wimborne Town, with whom we finished level on points and goals scored.
There were some very tired legs by now and our goal threat had evaporated over the last few matches with no fresh attacking substitute options a goalless draw was almost inevitable. So it was down to penalties and after the Wimborne keeper saved our sixth spot kick with his foot, we lost 6-5 in a nerve-wracking shootout.
The immediate disappointment was soon replaced by an overwhelming sense of pride as our team had never before even drawn a competitive full sided match and now we are beating professional football foundation organisations. AFC Bournemouth will be sending a team to play us again at Arbour Park at the end of the season, whilst we won many plaudits for our players' efforts and enthusiasm.
Dwayne Shaw was top sorer with three goals, whilst my player of the tournament was Daniel Gealy who was outstanding as an emergency left back and scored a brilliant solo effort having waltzed past five opponents. Special thanks also to Mark Clements for his help in driving us all to Dorset and back.
In hindsight, once this Sunday tournament had been confirmed, we should have cancelled our scheduled friendly on the previous day at Arbour Park against St Albans. Whilst we fielded our fringe players, it transpired that the opposition brought a team comprising the best of both St Albans Deaf and St Albans Disability teams, whilst being coached by the Team GB Olympic manager. Slough took an early lead through Dom Zarski but succumbed to a somewhat harsh 8-1 defeat which was a contribution of some shocking defending plus quality opposition play.
Alan Meredith, Slough Town Community FC Manager
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