As the LFE Pre-Season Tournament in Sweden came to a conclusion last week there were some strong performances from our English Clubs.
Rotherham United beat OFK 4-0 in the final group match to ensure they moved in to the 3rd/4th place play-off against AIK Stockholm after some mixed results.
The £12m Jamkraft Stadium played host to the encounter between the Millers and AIK. A slow start saw the Millers fall behind but Grant Darley produced a moment of inspiration to conjure up a 37th minute equaliser.
After the interval, fatigue set in and the Millers suddenly found themselves 4-1 down with 20 minutes left on the clock.
LFE guest Blogger Emmot Parr-Gallagher reduced the arrears but Rotherham Utd could not force a further break through and the game ended 4-2 to AIK.
The Final was contested by Barnsley and Hartlepool Utd after both teams had remained unbeaten throughout their respective fixtures.
With something needing to give, the Pools youngsters took the lead when Anthony Wakefield broke through the Barnsley defence, and despite calls for offside, opened the scoring.
Not to be thwarted without a fight the Tykes responded with an equaliser. With good chances at a premium it was left to penalties to decide the outcome.
Barnsley took the spoils 3 – 0 in the shoot-out but despite their final defeat Hartlepool Utd’s Micky Barron was still in high spirits:
“We’ve done ourselves proud on and off the pitch during our time in Sweden, I think a lot of people have been surprised by the quality of our football and to get to the final was a good achievement even though we were unlucky to lose.”
“Overall, I think this time away will prove invaluable for our young players and we’re now looking forward to enjoying a successful league campaign back in England.”
After the game Barnsley were handed the tournament champions trophy and Steven Bennet was awarded the golden boot Top Goal Scorer accolade at the awards dinner. To complete a clean sweep for the Reds, Alastar Taylor was awarded the Most Valuable Player.