A very strong group of teams including Kettering Town, Grimsby Corinthians, Norwich City and Sleaford seemed a tough nut to crack.
Sporting our new yellow, badged shirts, we had to adapt to playing on grass with a very narrow pitch and rain.
Stamford started with a fine performance against the Corinthians, Jez Norris and Gary Wildsmith coming within inches of scoring four times. The midfield stifled most of the attempts of Grimsby Corinthians and Kurt Garbutt did a great job of sweeping up at the back on his own. We had to settle for a 0-0 draw when we looked the better side.
Playing in a 1-3-1 formation our midfield excelled throughout the tournament and was mixed up from a pool of five players :Andy Walton, Bob Lear , John Pythian, Gary Wildsmith and Angel Goumal.
Next came Ely City and to be fair we should have won by a much clearer margin than 2-0 as we had four or five very close shots on goal. Kurt hit a thunderbolt which hit the post.
Cameron Brownlie did well to keep another clean sheet against Norwich City B., the group leaders and eventual finalists, when we drew 0-0. We were under the cosh a bit with Norwich hitting the post but we made three clear cut chances on the break and were unlucky not to win it in the end as again the superb midfield of gave the opposition few clear chances at goal and Kurt had a blinding game as Sweeper with Cameron Brownlie making two great saves to keep us in the game.
So we had to at least draw our last game against Sleaford, a consistently good- performing team in all tournaments. We had the best chances and Jez and Gary came so close to scoring. But we were undone late in the second half when the Sleaford centre forward managed to nip in between our defender and our keeper to punt a goal in. It looked suspiciously like running by him but the ref did not blow up.
So our group ended up as follows:
7pts Norwich City B
6pts Grimsby Corinthians
I’m proud of the lads for their gritty performance and if some of our shots on goal had been six inches closer to the mark we would have had a real bag-full of goals. 100 % from everyone, well done!
It was a real team effort, with Gary Wildsmith and Kurt Garbutt putting in a blinding display and the midfield working their socks off with Cameron Brownlie having a really sold tournament.
Norwich City A beat Norwich City B 1-0 in the final.
Jez Norris (capt.) (1 goal)
Cameron Brownlie ( gk )
Gary Wildsmith (1 goal)
Report by Angel Goumal (Team Manager)