21 May 2011                           London Saturday League Challenge Cup  Final

St. Matthews 4 Fit 4 Kidz 3 (AET. 3-3 full time)     Venue: Hackney Marshes

After a thrilling season that saw us exceed all expectations and finish runners up in our first season in the top flight, St. Matthew’s U13s crowned a special year by taking home the London Saturday League Challenge Cup with a brilliant team performance. Our opponents, Fit for Kidz, were the same opposition in our very first game of the season way back in September and now, with them as league champions, we went into the game as slight underdogs. After the first fifteen minutes, though, you would never have thought it, with two goals from Justin, including a brilliant 20-yard lob, and one from Larenze seeing us 3-up and cruising to victory. However, this was Fit 4 Kidz, our old adversaries who shared 18 goals with us in three league draws this season and never seem to know when they’re beaten, and by half time, courtesy of two long-range free-kicks, they had pulled back to 3-3 – proving ‘Chairman Lee’s’ pessimistic prediction that they would come back correct.
It looked like we had blown our chances but after a stirring half-time team talk we came out strong and were soon on the front foot again. A number of great chances went begging and the opposition were reduced to more long range efforts, which never really troubled Big Justice Owosu, a calming and dominant presence in goal as ever. With the scores still level at full time we went into extra time really believing we could win. With the Portuguese Man-of-War Joao Branco moving from defence to midfield we began to take control. However, tiredness was starting to play a part and Fit 4 Kidz hit us on the break, going clean through only for the player tapping the ball into the net to be ruled offside. Then, with about 5 minutes to go the decisive breakthrough came when Matthew Thomas latched onto a through ball and slipped the ball deftly past the keeper to seal the win. A late goal from a player who missed the minibus to Hackney Marshes by turning up late in the morning! Cue pitch invasion by delirious subs, family and friends and a polite request from the ref to return to the side-lines. A  fantastic end to the season and a day to remember for all who were present. And great to see our captain and rock at the back, Fabio, lift the cup at the end of an excellent season. Well done boys!

J. Alexander

Please see gallery for pictures!