This afternoon was the first game for our boys’ football team in the KMC “Group Cup”, a tournament in the format of the World Cup where teams compete in mini-leagues before progressing to knockouts. Our first group game was to be held against Faith, who we had already had an excellent game against in the KMC league during February! The boys couldn’t wait for the game to begin…
The game started with a flourish as a cross from Jack met with the arm of a defender and a penalty was given! Regular spot-kick taker Lennon ‘The Sniper’ Williams stepped up to take it and thumped the ball into the middle roof of the net! It was 1-0, Lennon’s 4th of the season after a 100% record with 3 penalties!
Shortly after, a brilliant second goal was converted after a throw was met by a stunning flicked through ball by captain Dan Smith. Attacking talisman Gradi Nkongolo met the volley beautifully to score and make it 2-0! The boys used this momentum to press on and add third and fourth goals inside the first half; one a volleyed finish by Jack Traynor after a cross, the other an effort by JP Salter that took a ‘slight’ deflection to result in JP’s first ever goal for OLI!
Faith did brilliantly to not let their heads drop and hit back with 3 quick goals that left co-managers Mr. Fairclough and Mr. Southworth with a problem before half-time. This is helped by Adam Gallagher who scored a 5th goal from close-range by lifting the ball into the top corner for his 5th goal of the season!
After apologising to the referee for Adam’s celebration, the team dug deep as the second half began. Dan switched to defensive role and showed his experience at the back. Jonny provided wonderful tackles against fierce attacking opposition and continuously made clearances. Luke Buckley adapted his game to help the team bolster its defence and this proved very valuable, eventually resulting in a through ball being slotted to Gradi who finished from point-blank range to put the score at 6-3.
With 5 minutes left, striker Ryan Lennon thundered a shot off the bar denying him a goal that he so greatly deserved. Ryan had taken part in his best game in an OLI shirt and was met with a big round of applause when he was substituted before full-time. Faith kept their hopes alive with a headed goal to put the deficit at 2 goals, but on the edge of full-time, Gradi scored a rebound that sealed his first ever hat-trick for OLI and his 8th goal this year!
With one final push forward from striker Tom Farrell, the game ended 7-4. A great game to watch for the spectators and a really good win for the boys to begin this competition.
MOTM: From Mr. Southworth, Ryan Lennon for excellent work-rate, passing and attacking threat.
MOTM: From Mr. Fairclough, Gradi Nkongolo for a brilliant hat-trick.