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Jon Haynes - Walsall FC

The Final Hurdle

08/08/11 |

Day 12

It was the day of the final and the lads were in great spirits ahead of the game and were full of confidence.

In the morning we had our breakfast and then the whole team went for a walk to stretch off legs and relax ahead of the game. Again the manager thought this was better preparation than lying in bed sleeping.

During the walk the only thing the lads were talking about was the game and everyone started to think about what the rest of the teams had said about the Watford players.

Then we were able to rest and do whatever we wanted to relax before the game and get a mind set on the test ahead.

Hours before the game we all had a meeting with the manager and once again told us all to hold our nerves and play the way we have throughout the whole tour.

The game finally came around and the lads were totally up for it and raring to go. However the lads started slowly and for the first half Watford were in control and had some good chances.

Watford had their chances and found themselves infront scoring a bizarre goal. A mistake by us led to an own goal and put us 1-0 behind.

However we were poor and rued alot of opportunities which could have put us level in the game or possibly ahead!

In the second half the lads came out much brighter and had a spring in their step. We completely took the game to Watford.

After all our hard work we were rewarded following a spectacular goal from Dan Griffiths, his sixth goal of the tournament.

Near the end, both teams were going after the win and after 90 minutes the game was level which meant extra time.

Team Talk

Both teams looked really tired and I think alot of that was down to the heat, however both sides were not for giving up.

In the first half of extra time we took the game again to Watford and had several chances. Our biggest chance came in the form of a penalty after a foul took place on Dan Griffiths in the area.

However we could not capitalise on the reward as the penalty was saved by Watford’s keeper.

Watford then found themselves a opportunity after a good counter attack and were able to score a late goal in extra time.

This is the way it finished despite us being the stronger side in second half but in extra time Watford came out on top.

It was a great team performance but we were gutted we couldn’t go home as champions.

After the defeat the lads went back and got showered at the hotel before sharing a BBQ and a karaoke moment with the rest of the teams at night followed by a presentation to all the teams.

After the awards most of the lads enjoyed a game of pool and then got themselves a good sleep before flying home the next morning.

Day 13

Another really early start as we had to get up for our coach journey back to Schiphol for our flight back to Birmingham.

Overall the trip was a great success, it was a good bonding trip and a lot of the lads enjoyed their time here from the football to the activites.

On behalf of all the lads at Walsall we would like to thank League Football Education for providing the tour and the invaluable experience we have taken from it.