The team of 7 Monty’s footballers headed to the JLL tournament in Shoreditch with apprehension and excitement for the matches that lay ahead.
What was sure to be a stiff competition brought out the best in our competitive streaks. Pitched in a group with UWE, Oxford Brookes, Cushman and Wakefield, and the hosts, JLL, it was going to be an uphill battle to qualify for the quarter finals. Or so we thought….
Monty’s breezed past our opening two games winning 4-2 against Brookes and 7-1 against UWE with Goldstone and big Wackett getting hattricks in the games respectively.
In the third group game Monty’s met JLL, with both teams unbeaten a stern test awaited. But once again, an easy Monty’s 5-1 victory saw us consolidate our places in the quarter finals. An outstanding performance from Bobby ‘the one man wrecking ball’ Wallace should be mentioned here.
The final group stage saw two unbeaten teams, Monty’s and Cushmans, meet to decide first and second place finishes in the group stages. A tense game but a 2-1 victory for Monty’s ensured an unbeaten 4 game run and a strong finish at the top of the table. Gallant last ditch defending and non-stop running from Kerrison ensured a tight defence proving too difficult to break down.
Monty’s were then drawn against Nottingham Trent in the quarter finals. As Monty’s quickly took the lead Trent equalised within seconds. Some outstanding keeping and saves from Scott Young – reminiscent of a young (mind the pun) Craig Gordon - and no nonsense defending from N’golo Kantourides ensured the scores remained even. What looked to be heading for a 1-1 draw and the prospect of penalties were soon dashed when Wacket broke Nottingham Trents hearts with a last minute screamer to send it 2-1. Monty’s were through to the semi finals!
As JLL had entered three teams for the tournament, it was inevitable that we would meet them again and we did so in the semi’s. Monty’s once again took an early lead through Goldstone, but once again were quickly pegged back. A second goal from Wallace saw Monty’s take a 2-1 lead. With players tiring and injuries creeping up on our very own Ledley King, Kountourides was substituted for Rickman, who had up till this point had a solid tournament. But this was all to change. Suffering with what can only be described as extreme sunstroke Rickman ran into his own area back heeling it to the keeper, leading to a penalty for infringement in the box. JLL brought it back to 2-2. With the game seemingly heading to penalties JLL took a last minute shot which was well saved by the keeper Young. As the ball flew into the air Rickman mistakenly caught the ball in his hands believing it was a free kick – for what reason? Nobody can be sure – a quickly taken free kick from JLL saw them take the lead with seconds to spare and Monty’s hopes of qualifying were dashed.
With the team dejected and unfortunate not to go through to the finals some quick thinking by Rickman getting the whole team a round a beers quickly restored the mood and redeemed himself as we reflected on a positive tournament. The day was concluded with networking and more refreshments.
Monty’s will undoubtedly win a tournament sooner or later!
Alex Kountourides, Graduate, Professional Services