Live At Leeds 5 A Side Review

On Monday we took part in the Live At Leeds 5 A Side tournament at Goals in Leeds for the fourth consecutive year. Last year we won the tournament (pictured above) so expectations for this year were high. We knew we'd be marked men with everyone watching our progress. With last year's squad in place plus the addition of the Geordie genius of Ewan Anderson we were confident of becoming the first time to retain the title.

However, the run up to the tournament didn't quite go to plan. Last year's Player of the Tournament Tristan Holdsworth was injured playing in a Leeds league, ruling him out of the competition (and most of the year, let's wish him a speedy recovery). Tim Brook also had to withdraw from the squad due to family commitments, leaving the squad down to it's bare bones. Head Piskie Craig Hale was drafted in and we were ready to go again. Illness struck the Hale Household on the eve of the tournament and we were again down to five. Or we were right until the just before the kickoff when Craig 'Ken' Walker stepped up from spectator to supersub.

We faced Amp Awards in our first match and quickly got back in to our grove, dismissing them 3-0 with goals from Dee and Howdle (pen) sandwiching a fine long range strike from Anderson. Dead Young Records were our next opponents. We were denied a clear penalty before Dead Young took the lead. The equaliser from Dee came at the end of a swift move before DYR again regained the lead. Another penalty appeal was turned down before DYR made the game same. We have lost our first LAL game since 2012 and had a lot of work to do to qualify for the knock out stages. We went for Pet Sounds from the off and a classic Joice strike and a trademark Howdle finish put us in a commanding position before Dee finished off two flowing team moves. The 4-1 scoreline put us odds on to qualify and results in other games aided our passage through.

In the second round we faced Monday Night Football. A bizarre own goal from their goalkeeper (I'm not sure I can describe how it happened even though I watched it) gave us the lead. They equalised before we hit back with another Dee goal. They piled on the pressure but our defence held firm and we had made it to the quarter finals. Could the dream become reality again?

Our quarter final opponents were ITV. While they may not have had Roy Keane in their team they'd obviously learnt a thing or two about the physical side of the game from him. With our tiring legs we kept them at bay for most the game before they took the lead from a hotly contested penalty. They wrapped up the win with virtually the last kick to win 2-0. We were out and ITV went on to win the tournament. A respective effort but feelings of what might have been with a fully fit squad. We'll be back next year; the Live At Leeds  trophy like the FA Cup coverage is only on loan to ITV.

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