Valence Reach South England Semi-Final Representing the Daggers
On Wednesday 20th March last, Valence proudly represented the Daggers (Dagenham and Redbridge FC) in the South of England u11 National League Trust at Eastleigh FC.
Our u11 boys football team assembled at 6am on Wednesday at Valence St Georges and were collected by Swallow coaches which were organised and booked by Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club. We shared the coach with the u11 Henry Green Girls team who had also qualified for the finals respectively.
After a three-hour journey to Eastleigh near Southampton, we prepared with an early training session before learning the faith of our group game fixtures. After a disappointing start, wasting some good opportunities and losing 3 -1 against a gallant Dulwich side, we recovered well to beat strong opposition Oxford 6-2, Torquay 2 – 0 and revenged against Leyton Orient 3 – 0. Leyton had previously beaten us in the north of London final 3 – 2 after a penalty shoot-out, so our boys deserved all the praise for playing exceptional football and consequently knocking favourites Leyton Orient out of the competition. We narrowly lost to Bromley FC 1-0 in the final group game, however jumped with joy, having learnt we had finished in second position in the group stage on nine points to reach the semi-final stage and realised we were only two games away from playing at Wembley Stadium.
Our boys raced into an early two lead against Oxford FC in the semi-final, missing four or five chances to extend our lead in the semi-final before conceding two late goals in the dying moments of the game, drawing the game 2 – 2 before unluckily losing 7 – 6 in a penalty shoot-out. Oxford progressed to the final against Bromley FC respectively.
Valence primary school would like to take this opportunity to thank Dagenham and Redbridge football club for letting us represent them in the north regional finals and South England finals for the second year in a row. All our players were presented with Dagenham and Redbridge football jerseys and the Daggers kindly booked a coach and paid to transport our pupils to Eastleigh. This was a wonderful experience for all our players and we look forward to trying to qualify for the regionals again next year.
Darren, Micah, Luis, Chinaza, Tochi, Ralu, Tolga and Tyler.