Sunday 11th November saw Continental Star’s Under 16s compete in the Birmingham County Minor Cup against last year’s league winners Sutton Town Juniors.  With previous encounters resulting in close score lines, this game was approached as a very big game for the squad.

From the off, it was evident that this would be a game won by the side that wanted it more, with both teams committing themselves and putting their bodies on the line for the cause.  Both teams had good early chances to take the lead; however, it was Sutton who was to capitalise first, as a cross ricocheted to the feet of an advancing Sutton midfielder, who neatly volleyed home.

As Star began to settle and take control of the game, gaps within the Sutton back line began to materialise.  Star began to take advantage of this, with a fast moving break involving right-back Natty, and new forward, Randane, who was upended by a Sutton defender.  The resulting free kick taken by Shyieme, was floated into that area that defenders and keepers hate; with great movement from back to front post, up popped Randane to neatly flick the ball over the flat footed keeper to get his 3rd goal in 4 games, since joining Star, and to make the score level at 1-1.  With half time fast approaching, Reshea found himself 1 on 1 with the Sutton goalkeeper, but narrowly placed his shot wide. Half Time:  1 – 1

Realising that the game was there for the taking, Star continued where they left off, attempting to create at any given opportunity.  The opposing linesman realised the threat that Star posed and with every opportunity – the flag was raised, adding to the mounting frustration.  Not letting this phase them, Star were soon rewarded for their persistence when a neat ball from midfield workhorse, Lathi, put through top goal-scorer Shaquille, who made the score 2-1 from just outside the 18 yard area.  This was soon followed with a 3rd; a run from forward Reece who then neatly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper.  Ironically, the linesman had admitted he should have raised the flag, but wasn’t paying attention at the time. 3 – 1 to Star.

With Star now in the ascendancy, a long ball from back to front caught Star defender Jordan on the wrong side of his man; this was compounded by him slipping and catching the Sutton forward’s ankle to unluckily concede a penalty.  Up stepped the Sutton forward’ his shot from 12 yards out was saved by Tasian, but unfortunately for Star, the Sutton frontline were first to react to save and slotted the ball home; score line 3 – 2 to Star.

With an immense amount of self belief Sutton now began to put the Star backline under pressure which resulted in an equaliser, and soon after another goal to take the lead; Star were struggling to cope with the onslaught.  However, Star dug in and managed to go forward, creating chances; yet again, the opposition’s linesman gave his team a helping hand to protect their lead.  When challenged about it, his response was: “you have to do, what you have to do.”

Final score: 3 – 4 to Sutton Town.

Yes this may be our 1st defeat of the season, but I am very proud of the way the team have begun the season, and this is only a stumbling block.

Well done to all players involved!

Report by Daniel Moses 11/11/12