FULLEDGE Colts Under 14s are ready for a new challenge after completing their second successive league and cup double – this time by winning every single game.
The talented team have now been crowned Accrington and District Junior Football League champions four out of the five years since joining in 2009.
Now Fulledge have applied to join the Bolton and Bury District Football League to test themselves against new opposition.
The Colts, managed by Alex Norwood, are no strangers to testing themselves having recently returned from Portes Des Fagnes Tournament in Verviers, Belgium.
Fulledge were hoping to make it back-to-back overseas successes after winning a tournament in Holland last year.
But the Colts had to settle for runners-up place which was a no mean feat considering they played up an age group against some talented Belgium teams.
“The team that beat us in the final were outstanding.” said Norwood. “The lads put up a really good fight as we only lost 2-0 against a side who had been hitting six and seven against other sides.
“They were a little disappointed but I told them they can’t take more out of that defeat than they could have by going leaving with a trophy.”
The tournament, which boasts Cambridge United and Luton Town among previous entrants, included teams from across Europe and also Southend United Academy team.
On the opening day, Fulledge narrowly lost 1-0 to Tilleur FC from Belgium in a very tight game but then beat French side FC Stembertoioise 2-0 thanks to wonderful long distance strikes from Aidan Duffy and Ben Ashton.
The Colts qualified for the finals on goal difference and played RSC Verviers U14.
Strong defensive play from Liam Gidley, Leon Stubbs, James Billington and Ethan Slater proved crucial, as did lone striker Thomas Keellings, whose hold-up play allowed Fulledge to eventually establish possession. A well-taken goal from Josh McRae and a Ben Ashton header, sandwiched between an outstanding save from Luke Cocker, secured a 2-0 win for the Colts.
The final game was against RSC Verviers U15s, who provided the greatest test of the weekend. They had already racked up heavy scorelines of 13-1 and 7-0, as well as a 4-1 victory against Southend United Academy. This, however, did not overawe the younger Colts, who were competitive throughout against an outstanding U15s team. Despite losing 2-0, the pace of Conor Morgan and the trickery of Nathaniel Anderson created opportunities that the Colts should have done better with. Fulledge were, nevertheless, commended by opposition players and management for their performance.
“The efforts of the boys across the two days was exceptional,” added Norwood. “Their levels of application against teams in an older age group was pleasing to see, as was the way they adapted to playing against different teams from different countries.
“Once again, their impeccable behaviour throughout was a credit to themselves and their families, as well as Fulledge Colts YFC. Despite not winning, there were plenty of learning opportunities for the boys and I’m sure these will prove to be extremely valuable for them and their long-term development. The boys could not stop smiling all weekend – I’m proud of them all, they were brilliant.”
Fulledge travelled to Belgium on the back of another ‘domestic’ double.
The champions rounded off their season in emphatic fashion beating Great Harwood Rovers 8-0 to make it 16 wins out of 16. Leading scorer Ben Ashton bagged a hat-trick with Cameron Lancaster, Josh McRae, Reid Wolstenhome and a Thomas Keellings brace sealing victory.
The two teams then meet in the Under 14s Cup final at Shawbridge, the home of Clitheroe Football Club. After a competitive first half, Fulledge Colts used smart possession of the ball to secure a 5-1 victory, with goals from Jake Woodward, Thomas Keellings (3) and Reid Wolstenholme.
“It was another great season for the lads,” said Norwood. “Their reputation for the quality of football they play has been enhanced with a series of fine performances, both individually and collectively.”
Norwood is now hoping to his team gets accepted in to the Bolton and Bury District Football League which will give them a challenge in more ways than one.
“To play in the league we will have to play our home matches in Haslingden to fall under the catchment area,” said the manager. “So if we get in, we’ll basically be playing all of our games away from home.
“I really hope we get in as it will give them the chance to test themselves against different opposition and challenge their development as players.”
The club would like to thank ARC elevators for their support with strip sponsorship