The cup final curse struck again in Birmingham as Falcons hit the woodwork several times but ended up losing 1-0 to a resilient Mersey Marauders in the GFSN Cup Final.
Kev was able to field close to a full-strength team but sadly captain Ben was unable to make it. Conal lined up in goal with his back four consisting of Dan H, Juggs, Richard Cowell and Aew. Pete and Jordan took up the wings either side of Jaime and Ian, while Bruce and Eoin started up front. Kev, James, Stefano and Ritchie warmed the bench.
The first half was a very one-sided affair with Falcons dominating the possession and chances. Ian and Jaime both had shots go just wide from the edge of the area before Bruce rattled the crossbar with a beautiful curling effort. Jordan then hit the near post from a corner before a free kick nudged the bar and fell just out of reach of Pete and Bruce.
Mersey edged back into the game but weren’t really threatening until a series of mistakes allowed them to pinch the lead right on half time. Out of step with the rest of the half, the opposition weren’t closed down coming out of defence and, after the two centre backs were forced to halt a run on goal illegally, a free kick was spilt by Conal and Mersey were the first to pounce to make it 1-0.
If Falcons had continued the rest of the game in the same shape as the first half then there would have been no doubt that a goal would have come. Sadly, we lost our patience and discipline as a series of long balls were easily dealt with, players failed to get their heads up and play simple passes, and tiredness creeped in with the extra running we forced on ourselves. Again, the game was played almost exclusively in the opposition half but Mersey seemed far more comfortable in keeping Falcons out and, as the game reached the last ten minutes, they looked more dangerous on the break, seeing a shot go just wide.
The final whistle went and there was an unbelievable sense of disappointment that the cup once again went begging.
This was the final Falcons game for a number of players so it was naturally sad to end the season without a trophy. Some of the players involved have given a lot to the club over the years and we’d like to thank them for all of their efforts. On the flip side, there is an acknowledgement that we’ve been poor at both recruiting new players and holding onto existing ones in recent years – something that was obvious this season in the GFSN and LUL teams that had very little overlap. A lot of effort is going in to addressing those issues and Thursday evening training has been a great success in recent weeks. We now look ahead to the 2016/17 season and will be giving everything we have to bring some silverware back to Falcons.
Team: Conal, Dan H (Ritchie, 85), Dan W, Richard, Aew, Pete, Ian, Jaime, Jordan, Eoin (Kev, 70), Bruce.
Subs: James, Stefano.