Our walking football team, Vintage Celtic, were in action last Friday, in the Greater Manchester Walking Football League over 65’s Cup, which took place at Heywood Sports Village. It’s the second time this competition has been held with eight teams participating on what was a cold and wet day.
Teams from the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Fylde Coast joined five of our local teams to form two groups of four in a round robin format. Vintage Celtic were drawn in Group A alongside Hartshill Strollers, Rochdale Striders and local rivals Tameside Striders.
First up for Vintage Celtic were Rochdale Striders and despite some fine passing and movement and the majority of possession we couldn’t get past their excellent goalkeeper, Not unusual for Vintage Celtic, it finished in a 0-0 draw.
Second up were our neighbours, Tameside Striders and we possibly had slightly the better of possession and certainly more shots on target than the Striders. However neither side could make a breakthrough and once again it finished in a 0-0 draw.
The final fixture in the round robin stage was against the lads from the Black Country, Hartshill Strollers. This proved to be a more physical game and there were one or two controversial challenges from both sides. Possession was even in this match and once again this resulted in a 0-0 deadlock.
Vintage Celtic, the 0-0 draw specialists, missed out on the main cup semi-finals by one point and had to settle for attempting to win the consolation prize of the Plate.
Wakefield Wanderers were our Semi-Final opponents and this was almost a walkover, with Vintage Celtic having the majority of possession and ‘walking’ out 2-0 winners, thanks to two great goals from Derek and Keiran.
The other semi-finalists were AFC Blackpool Senior Seasiders and Tameside Striders. This resulted in a 0-0 draw and went to an eighteen penalty shootout, with quite a number of misses or saves. Eventually in the penalty shootout, which must have taken longer than the match, the Striders came through and were to be our opponents in the Plate final.
In this match we did have the better of possession but once again neither side could make the breakthrough until a defence splitting pass from Bob found Barry unmarked. Barry then skipped past a defender and had only the keeper to beat. With his normal deadly accuracy Barry slotted the ball into the Striders net to make this the winning goal in a 1-0 victory for Celtic….and trophy number thirteen in the Trophy Cabinet!
It has to be said that the quality of most sides in this tournament was pretty even and obviously the ones who managed to hit the net the most came through at the end. Despite only winning the Plate trophy in this competition, Vintage Celtic were the only side unbeaten on the day, plus the fact that with no goals against, our seventy two year old keeper, Mike Kieran, won the Golden Gloves award once again, unfortunately for Mike there was no trophy this time.
Thanks to all our lads today, Colin Cuthbert, Bob Daniels, Derek Drabble, Duncan Evans, Mike Kieran, Keiran Tilly and captain for the day, Barry Whitmore.
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