SUNDAY saw the Under-12 squad make the long journey to Cardiff to take part in the National Academy Futsal Finals. They qualified after finishing in the top two places of the North Wales event held at Deeside Leisure Centre in December and January.
The semi-final draw pitted the young wingmakers against South Wales champions Pontardawe. The game opened up at a frightening pace with Airbus very quickly in the ascendancy. Ben McCall settled any Airbus nerves with a quick fire double, the second of which coming from a well worked corner routine.
McCall added a third for the young wingmakers with only eight minutes on the clock with a very good close range effort.
Tom Gibson netted the Airbus fourth goal from a corner before Elliot Orton bagged goal of the day as he started and finished a fine team move to really put the game beyond our South Wales hosts.
The second half saw a more reserved performance from the U12 as they settled in and were content to sit on their excellent lead. Pontardawe did manage to pull a goal back, but more excellent defensive work from Callum Bridge, Tyler McManus, Elliot Orton and goalkeeper Hayden Ellis kept the South Wales side out.
In the end, a comfortable victory for the young wingmakers as they booked a place in a first National Final against fellow Flintshire Academy gap Connah's Quay.
The final started as a nervy affair, with neither side managing to gain control of the game. However, it was Nomads who settled quicker and they made this count as they raced into a 3-0 lead. The wingmakers did manage to pull a goal back before the break through Tyler McManus.
The second half saw a more determined Airbus side take to the court, as they came out trying to attack The Nomads at every opportunity. Ben McCall rattled the post before Connahs Quay launched a devastating counter attack to lead 4-1. Their lead was soon cut as McCall added his first of the final with a smart close range finish before Joel Kelly really made a game of it, but adding an Airbus third.
Nomads extended their lead after their big striker headed home from a corner, but Fin Savage soon reduced the scores again.
As was the case throughout the game, just when the young wingmakers felt that they were getting on top, Nomads would capitalise on the smallest mistake and a two goal lead would open up.
With the game drawing to a close another Airbus goal made the score line 6-5 with two minutes to go, but Nomads soon ended the game as straight from the kick off they burst through and made it 7-5.
Both games saw immense performances from the U12 squad! They can all be extremely proud of how they played and how they took on new information between games. In addition to this, it was their first experience of a National Finals event and the pressure and atmosphere that goes with it, and the boys took to it and enjoyed everything about it. The future is certainly bright! Well done boys.
Jamie Crowther's U16 squad finish top of the Academy Cup League table despite playing a game less
After a fine campaign, which saw the squad claim victories over The New Saints, Bangor City, Llandudno and Bala Town and suffer only two defeats, Jamie Crowther's Under-16 squad finish top of the Academy Cup League table despite playing a game less
In addition to this the U16 have also put in a number of outstanding displays in fixtures against professional clubs such as Everton, Tranmere Rovers and Rochdale.
They now look forward to an Academy Cup Quarter Final against Rhyl at The Hollingsworth Group Stadium on Sunday evening. Kick off will be 7pm.
A huge well done to the squad and to coach Jamie Crowther. Good luck in the national knock out stages of the competition.