On Friday 13th October 2017, the Yrs. 5 & 6 Football team took to the field for the first time at Ribblesdale High School, Clitheroe. With little or no previous match experience the team took on their first of the Ribble Valley league games. Up first was Oakhill: our tem kicked off, which allowed a few early nerves to be settled as Theo knocked the ball confidently back to Benji, who played a first time ball up to Samantha. They were off to a great start but the pressure soon told as Lewis broke through the defence and slammed the ball home from close range to take the lead 1-0. They were then put under pressure for much of the game with some tight defending by Archie, who put his body on the line to block shots. As the game ran on we played the long ball game and a chance presented itself to Samantha. Incredibly, she lifted the ball over the keeper on the volley from 25 yards out and Gisburn won their first game 2-0!
Next up was Chatburn: our team was under pressure again for most of the game but stood up to all the tests. Charlie, Ted and Benji stayed strong at the back whilst Theo kept goal. Much of the game was played within Gisburn’s half but the team dug in deep. Late on in the game, a counter attack was on! Lewis lead the charge only for the ball to roll out toward Benji who struck it with venom and gave the keeper no chance to react. The game was pinched at the end in our favour 1-0.
Full of confidence, the children began their next game playing like an established team! A mixed team of Grindleton and Bowland were under pressure from the word go; no sooner had they kicked off when Lewis had the ball in the back of the net. The travelling support was now beginning to admire some the football being played and cheered them on. They went from strength to strength allowing all of their team to get in on the action. Charlie slotted a penalty away, Samuel with a goal mouth scramble headed the ball home, Samantha grabbing another to add to her tally and, finally Lewis with a hat trick! As a result of pressure and confidence Gisburn were 6-0 winners.
The final game left it poised as two unbeaten teams met, Gisburn V Chatburn. The game was played at a fast tempo and Samuel was to provide three clear-cut chances as he carved open the defences with Messi-like passes but, unfortunately, the Gisburn attackers were unable to finish. As the game went on, the children began to regret missing their scoring opportunities as they defended with all their might, not letting Chatburn have a clean route through to goal. An incredible defence display by Samuel mean't Chatburn’s danger man was marked out of the game. A big clearance from Benji forced a slip of the mind as the Chatburn defence handled the ball within their penalty area. Benji took control of the situation as it was to be the final kick of the game. Without hesitation, Benji rifled one home to win the match and an unbeaten start to Gisburn’s league campaign. Thank you to all of the players who were involved as it was an incredible team performance and the parents’ support brigade only enhanced the quality of their success!