This was a thrilling game for the neutral but nerve-wracking for anyone associated with SMP. The U16s, as unpredictable as ever, made hard work over our old rivals from Wandsworth, Broomwood, a team they had done the double over in the league this season. A goal down after just 2 minutes, things got even worse when our captain and key defender, TJ, was sent off for a deliberate handball in the box. Dominic saved the resulting penalty, which seemed to galvanise our 10 men, and incredibly, we went off at half time 2-1 up.
The second half saw the boys take control of the game but after racing to a 4-1 and 5-2 lead, they began to tire, allowing Broomwood to get back in the game. At 5-4, Dominic made a finger-tip save, pushing a last-minute shot onto the bar and saving the game from extra time. The celebrations at the final whistle were a mixture of joy and relief.
On a sad note, this was the last game between the two teams as Broomwood will not be continuing at U17s next season. Many of the boys on the pitch had been playing each other since U10s and we have enjoyed some great encounters with them down the years. We wish them and their manager Ricardo all the very best; they will be missed.