Writer: Joe Ainscough
Date:Sunday May 22 2011
A 4.30 start and 4 hours of sleep was not the best start for a trip down to London and a days football, however this weekend has been one of the best in my life.
The trip down to Stamford Bridge to compete in the Lucozade Fans Fives was a fantastic opportunity for both the website and the players. We helped put Vital Blackburn on the map, whilst at the same time, having a real good time!
Considering we put together a team of players, who had never played together before, showing a good account of ourselves and winning a game was a reasonable target set at the start of the day, although progressing further was always on the back of everyones minds.
The groups were drawn and Rovers lined up against:
Liverpool (Home), Liverpool (Away) - Who took the place of Manchester United in the tournament, Wigan and Newcastle. The top two from each group went into the quarter finals.
Our first game together was against Liverpool away, where a lack of communication and knowledge of each other came into play, and a 1-0 defeat was not the best start! (but considering the circumstances was quite acceptable)
Next up was the Pie eaters!! A must win game after our previous result. An inspirational team talk and more teamwork gave us a massive improvement on the first game, and the much needed win came as we dominated the game and won 2-1, a scoreline which flattered our opponents as we should have and could have had more..
At this point, we were second in the table due to other results which gave us a massive boost going into our third game against Liverpool home. By this point, player fitness was starting to come into play, everyone was giving 110% out on the pitch and doing everything they could to win. This started to go against us. Firstly suspected ligament damage to myself (Rover23) which left me out on the sideline, followed by an ankle injury picked up by Glen (Glen9mullan) left us in a tough situation, but the boys rallied through and picked up a 2-0 win which kept us in second place with one game to go. Liverpool away were sitting pretty on the top, whilst Newcastle were 1 point behind us in third.
The final game of the group. Newcastle who remained unbeaten after 2 draws and a win in a winner takes all match. We needed a draw or better. With no subs due to my injury it was 15 minutes with 5 men. Everyone worked there socks off and gave everything they had to the cause. After going a ahead, 5 seconds later a massive dip caught us unaware and the game finished 1-1, a point which took us to the quarter finals!!! Great Stuff!!!
A 45 minute wait did nothing for the fitness, the fit players seized up and the injured ones could not recover, we played the winner of another group, Blackpool.
We were running on empty. We gave everything we had and more, and were dead on our feet. The injured players tried the best for the cause, and everyone else just had nothing left to give, despite all the free energy drinks that were given out!! Whay! But this as well as some poor refereeing decisions meant we lost 3-0..
So Vital Blackburn finished in the top 8, and a quarter finals was a respectable place to finish.
Congratulations to Spurs who went on to win the competition, after going 14 penalties each with Manchester City in the Grand Finale.
Everyone gave 110%, it was really rather enjoyable, and we finished in a respectable position. Overall a great great weekend.
Date:Sunday May 22 2011
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