A UTTOXETER junior football team has been praised after finishing as runners-up in a national competition.
Uttoxeter Juniors Black Under-12s took part in a two-day football tournament in Blackpool last weekend – for the third year in a row – and after qualifying from their group, narrowly lost to champions North Shields in the final
Coaches Simon Evans and Scott Mawer said: “They have all played so well and thoroughly deserved their trophies.
“They are now looking forward to next year where they hope to go one step closer and become the champions.”
The first day started brightly, with Uttoxeter beating hosts Blackpool 2-1 with goals from Lucas Rodgers and Robbie Minshall.
In the second match against Jarrow Panthers, a string of saves from keeper Ethan Mawer and a goal from Archie Rushton earned them a 1-0 win.
In their final game of the day, despite great defensive efforts from Rhys Davies, the team’s tired legs saw them lose 1-0 to Morecambe FC.
On day two, the boys were in high spirits and that showed in their first game as great passing from Jacob Rodgers and strong defensive play from Hayden Hatton and Bradley Cope saw Byrn FC reduced to shooting from distance as Uttoxeter won 3-0 with two goals from Minshall and one from Sophie Howe.
In their final group game, they faced unbeaten North Shields and, despite battling efforts from Liam Reed and Alex
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Bennett, lost 2-0.
However, that result did not affect Uttoxeter’s final league position, which saw them face North Shields again in the final.
In gale force conditions, they made it a difficult game for their opponents and were unlucky to concede the only goal of the match, from a wind-assisted corner that went straight in.
In the second half, Uttoxeter fought bravely, with Harry Evans creating chances, but they could not break North Shields’ resilience.