The sky was blue, the temperature was scorchio and the beer was only £2 a pint – a classic setting for any summer football tournament, and the scene was certainly set for the LiquidFootball Trophy 2016. The second annual ‘LFT’ took place at Power League, Peterborough and was contested between eight sides, four of which were making their debut in the tournament. Boston lads Krakow Veterans – winners of the inaugural trophy in 2015, arrived on the scene – having changed from Bhoys’ green & white to Bournemouth black & red – to a rousing and rapturous guard of honour*, whilst Hereward Radio were broadcasting live from pitch side.
In Group A; tournament debutants Disaronno Ronaldo and Kestrel FC kicked off proceedings, before kicking off with each other, as a melee erupted over a spot of shoving in the corner, but referee Matt Heaton quickly calmed the situation down, before the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Krakow Veterans followed, getting their LFT-defending campaign off to a 4-1 winning start over debutants Hardly Athletic. Meanwhile, on pitch 2, the Group B clash between 2015 semi-finalists Spalding Wanderers and host-team FC LiquidFootball ended all square, before Hereward Radio FC lost their fourth game on the bounce – continuing on from last year’s tournament where they lost all three group games – to tournament newcomers, Wongens.
In the second round of games, Krakow Veterans continued their defence of the trophy In excellent fashion, by being the first team to secure a semi-final spot, via a 6-2 drubbing of Kestrel FC, whilst Hardly Athletic were the first side to be eliminated, following a close-faught loss at the hands of Disaronno Ronaldo. Group B was a tighter affair though. Hereward Radio FC claimed their first ever win, with a fantastic 8-5 belter over FC LiquidFootball – avenging last year’s 4-0 loss in the process. Wongens and Spalding Wanderers played out a 3-3 draw.
In the final round of games, Disaronno Ronaldo booked their place in the semis, by seeing out a 1-1 draw with the Krakow Vets, finishing second in Group A. Hardly Athletic got their first win, over Kestrel, however the game was a dead rubber as both sides were set to go home. Group B was topped by Wongens following a 5-2 win over FC LiquidFootball – whose miserable tournament run continued by failing to win a single game. Their only highlight coming by way of Oli Gedney’s Goal of the Tournament – a tasty volley that even Matt Le Tissier would be proud to claim. Spalding Wanderers needed to beat Hereward Radio FC to go through to their second consecutive semi-final, but by this point, the new-look Hereward side had the wind in their sales, dishing out a 7-0 thrashing to finish the group as runners up and setting up a semi-final clash with the reigning champions.
Murmurs around the hundreds in attendance* was that Krakow Veterans and Wongens were the two outstanding teams, and it would likely to be those two facing off in the final. However, Hereward Radio FC who were 1000-1 outsiders (in-joke) before the tournament, continued their fine attacking display by pulling off the shock of the tournament, eliminating last year’s winners, and handing Krakow Veterans their first defeat in the LFT. The Vets crashed and burned in the hotter-than-the-sun conditions, as Hereward Radio defied the odds by recording a 9-5 win and securing a place in the final, where they would meet other underdogs (whom some had nicknamed “the fat lads”) Disaronno Ronaldo, after their 5-2 win over Wongens in the other semi-final.
The final was set and we would be guaranteed a new champion. And it looked like Hereward Radio FC would take the crown, as they took a 2-0 lead early into the game – their second goal shrouded in controversy as a quick-taken free kick found its way into the net. The Disaronno lads would not give up however, as they managed to pull one back. But it looked to be game over as Craig Allison scored his 12th of the tournament – landing himself the Golden Boot in the process – and restored Hereward’s two-goal lead. But only for a matter of seconds, as goalkeeper Josh Richardson (who would later go on to be voted Player of the Tournament by an expert* panel) quickly rolled the ball out to the other end before it was smashed into the net to once again reduce the deficit.
But for a tournament that started with drama, it was also going to end that way as, with about ten seconds left to play, Jack Boothby managed to squeeze in a dramatic equaliser, before referee Piotr blew the full time whistle. It would be the dreaded penalty shootout to settle proceedings. Hereward, who had massively defied the odds to reach the final, missed all three of their spot kicks, whilst the opposition scored their first two; allowing Andrew Sculthorpe to step up and send the keeper the wrong way, and confirm Disaronno Ronaldo as LiquidFootball Trophy 2016 winners. “The Fat Lads” were champions.
*May not be true
FULL TOURNAMENT RESULTS
Overall; the LiquidFootball Trophy 2016 was a great success, and the Hereward Radio live broadcast went well also.
A massive thanks to the event sponsors (The St Ives Town FC Scholarship Programme, JM Pallet Truck Services, Jay Farmer Kitchens and Bathrooms, Impra Gas, Harrison Rose Estate Agents, Weekend Offender, R&R Tanning, JCS Media, Pandora Plants) – we couldn’t have hosted the event without your backing!
Massive thanks to all of the players who took part and to those who donated, referees Piotr and Matt, Ruth and the Power League team, Matt and Cole at Hereward Radio, Soph for photography, Chloe for transport, all of the spectators for giving the day a great atmos’, and to anyone else we may have missed who helped out in any way. And of course a big thanks to those who donated online. The total profits from the event looks to be around the £400 mark – which we will be donating to Callum Pite’s Smile Charity – beating last year’s total.
Same again next year!