No rest for the U13 Panthers

It was a busy weekend for the Panthers, with a number of players trialling on Saturday as we look to put together the squad to compete at the Elite level next season at U14.
On a very hot day we played the Bears in a friendly match that allowed us to try a few things out and play certain players in unfamiliar positions. Thank you Martin for allowing us to play with so many substitutes. Despite the scoreline it was clear to see the improvement in the Bears which is a great testament to what Martin has done with the Bears over the last few years.
There was no rest for the Panthers and on Sunday, they received their SYL medals at Imber Court for being runners up in the Premier Division (we really should have won it) and then went back to the Hub for the end of year individual awards
Here’s a summary of the year:

At the start of the season we set out to push for promotion to SYL Premier Elite next season and we’ve done that so next season we will be competing amongst the top 10 teams in Surrey which is pretty amazing

There have been some really great performances over the season, and the boys have improved greatly, when compared to last season. It’s sometimes easy to forget that this is our first season at 11 Aside
Of course, it’s a shame we are not going up as Champions after being top all season but the boys should be immensely proud of their achievements
It is  easy to pinpoint what we could have done differently to have not lost the few points we did and the boys will no doubt learn from that. Losing 2 and drawing 3 all season, winning the other 13 games in the second best division in the county is not too shabby at all!
We also had a great run in the County Cup including a brilliant performance against FC United from Tolworth who turned up probably expecting to roll over the nice little club from Walton but we played exceptionally. We were narrowly knocked out in the 4th Round by the eventual Cup Winners in Sutton United, a team that have also just won the SYL Elite division. We can take enormous heart from the fact that we gave them a bloody good game.
We shouldn’t forget that this year is our first at 11 aside and 6 new boys joined us last summer so it’s a really great achievement to have done so well this year. The boys have really gelled and competed well
We are under no illusion though on how big the step up is going to be next season in the Elite division; and we will be training really hard over the summer, working on fitness and tactical awareness to get us ready to compete.
So on to the awards….
This year has seen a larger number of boys receive votes than previous years, which goes to show how individually the boys have improved from last year.
  • For Player’s Player, 8 boys received votes. with a few receiving more than 1. But the winner is the player who scares the living daylights out of opponents with his pace, and has also ended the season as our top scorer. Very well deserved William
  • Supporters Payer this year was also hotly contested, but mainly  between a couple of players. Ultimately there was 1 vote in it and the last vote received was the decider. We  are really thrilled that this boy received the award as he has improved immensely since he joined and is a delight to coach. Without him we would definitely not have achieved so many points this year and he is going to be even better next season… Our number 1…. Leo
  • Lastly it comes to the vote from me, Kev and Mark. We mulled this over for a while as there were a number of boys that we were considering. We know we can be tough on the boys, and we push them hard. We expect them to give their all, both on the training pitch and on match day.
We knew what to expect from the Panthers that were with us last year:
  • Ollie has done a sterling job this year in positions other than CB where he has played all of his time before this season. Ollie has relished playing further forward, and now it’s time to decide where his favoured position on the pitch is.
  • Devon has been a complete star in central defence. He is so composed and not only wins the ball so comfortably but also brings the ball out so well
  • George’s physicality is a major factor to his game. Having someone that uses that in a controlled manor is such an important part of a team
  • Binnie is a goal scorer. Simples! he has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, and actually his goals to time on the pitch this season is very high
  • Zeno is a ball master. His control of the football is arguably the best in the team. Again he has been asked to play a number of positions this year, often on the left wing. Hopefully next season he will play more in his favoured position behind the striker
  • Omar, passing skills are his biggest weapon. He sees a pass that others often don’t.
  • William is a beast. His power and pace is frightening, and there are not that many boys of our age group that consistently put in such high quality crosses. Oh and he’s scored a few goals too!
  • Then there are the Coaches sons, Tate and Will. We mention them together, as we feel they should be recognised for the desire and passion that they show on the pitch, particularly on match days, something which often goes unnoticed. We are going to need that higher level of intensity next season from everyone on the pitch.
The 6 boys that joined us this season all did great.
  • Leo was a star in goal, and as mentioned is only going to get better.
  • Josh has been so consistent in his holding midfield role and also scored a belter!
  • Little Jake was asked to play all over the place and never looked out of place, finishing the season with 14 goals
  • Big Jake has added some physical presence to the defence and has chipped in with a few goals
  • Joe has been a rock at Right Back. The timing of his tackles is impeccable and he also delivers a mean ball into the box
  • Bradley has done well in the middle of the pitch breaking up play and distributing the ball well
So who has won the award????
Well, actually the three Coaches couldn’t decide on 1 player, so we gave 2 trophies….
One is for a new player that joined this year and one is for an older head
  • This boy has been so dependable throughout the season. He is one of the few that actually talks on the pitch, and he reads the game extremely well. He is now one of the first names on the team sheet each week and the holding midfield general … Josh

  • The second award goes to a player that’s been with us for a while and has played most of that time in another position to the one he’s played this season. But we are hoping that we along with his parents can convince him to stay playing where he has this season (although we may give him the odd run out further forward). His reading of the game is superb, enabling him to win the ball with ease. and as for the diving header clearance in one game this season!…. I think we all know who has won this award and he fully deserves it for a great season in Central Defence….. Devon