As holders, Lambert Chapman entered a team into the second Essex Business Soccer 6’s (EBS6) that was held at Chelmer Park on 21 June. It followed a similar format to last year’s tournament with the sides being split into groups and then playing round robin matches before the winners progressed to a knock-out stage.
This year added a plate competition for those teams who were eliminated early on the night but this unfortunately seemed not to be understood by those qualifying for it – better luck next year perhaps!
Our side managed to get out of our group by virtue of a positive result in the other game having drawn both games. Our squad was light of key players who had managed to get holiday forms signed, Pachent for a week away in Cornwall (deemed acceptable) and Charnock a day out at Ascot (deemed highly dubious)! We therefore only had one substitute which turned into an important factor later following an injury to Webb in the quarter final which left him side lined for the remainder of that game and the semi-final.
Arran Andrews once again took the goalie shirt and was our man of the match in a number of the games. He commanded his box well and saved a number which probably should have been goals. In defence Ryan Pearson played every minute of every game and put in a solid performance showing his fitness improvement since last year’s tournament. As justification he had completed the Race for Business earlier in the month in a much better time than the previous year and if this improvement continues might get a game for his beloved Ipswich if they continue to plummet!
He was joined at the back by Craig Weavers who was his usual solid self though out of breath a bit quicker than he would have liked. In midfield, Jack Webb got about the field well until turning his ankle which was later diagnosed as a fractured metatarsal and Matt Gagie, who switched between midfield and upfront.
Alex Buckley, from the tax team, made his debut and like Matt the year before took a game to get the pace of it and the confidence to contribute strongly. He progressed well as the tournament developed and added an extra dimension on the left flank. Ross Cook started upfront but dropped back into midfield to utilise his superior fitness in getting up and down the field from our second game.
In our first knock-out match we were fortunate to come across a team who failed on the most important rule not once but twice to give us penalties that Cook put away ala H Kane. Unfortuately the rules, which were discussed in some detail by ourselves whilst we waited for the Groundsman to turn up and let us onto the astro pitch, contained a penalty if the goalkeeper kicked the ball. Having conceded once our opponents changed the keeper only for the replacement to forget himself and do it a second time.
We were then on the back foot as they came back at us but we held on with Andrews playing a magnificent game to win 2-1. This brought us against our old adversary from last years final A J Chambers and they managed to get revenge as we lost 2 0. They had 2 substitutes while we had none and that told as they were able to give players a breather while we suffered on the field.
As we got to the third fourth place playoff, both sides agreed to a 3 man penalty shoot out which we won 3 2 thanks to their first penalty hitting the bar and our men, Cook, Buckley and Gagie all scoring. The key to our performance was the teamwork that our group showed and with a larger squad we could have been more dangerous.
We must thank Paul Bridgeman of Clive Emson Auctioneers who organised a fantastic tournament on his own and we look forward to trying to win back the trophy next year.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the Author and other professionals may express different views. They may not be the views of Lambert Chapman LLP. The material in the article cannot and should not be considered as exhaustive. Professional advice should be sought in connection with any of the issues contained in the article and the implementation of any actions.