In their inaugural season Reigate Priory U9 Falcons have gone from being a group of twelve individuals to a team that can defend as a unit and put together exciting passages of play when sweeping forward. Although the boys initially favoured a unique “six-strikers-and-a-goalie” formation, over the course of the season they have each gained experience in all positions on the pitch and the improvement in each one has strengthened the team as a whole.
The cup final against Woodmansterne was a nail-biting affair for all concerned. In an evenly matched encounter the Falcons went behind early in the second half. Nevertheless, the boys didn’t let their heads drop and Louis Jackson notched for Priory towards the end of regular time. Hearts sank when Woodmansterne were awarded a dubious last-minute penalty, but Priory goalie Taylor Stannard stood tall and saved both the spot kick and the day, leading to ten minutes of extra time. Neither team was able to break the deadlock in open play and the game headed to penalties.
One by one, the five penalty takers made the long, lonely walk from the centre circle to the penalty spot as a now hushed crowd looked on. An early advantage for Priory was slowly whittled away and it became apparent that the only way to separate the two teams would be via the Russian Roulette of sudden death. After almost eighty minutes of excitement, it came down to sixty seconds of unbearable drama. A penalty slotted away, a ball tipped round a post and the cup was Priory’s.
In the other Under 9 final Priory Eagles were unable to defeat Horsley Arrows, a valiant effort from the Eagles nevertheless.