Cup kings Town are Dana-mite!
BUNTINGFORD Town s youth side are the kings of Denmark, writes DAVE RYAN. They upset the odds to win the prestigious Dana Cup in northern Denmark. More than 850 teams entered the tournament – the world s third-largest youth football tournament with 64 tea
BUNTINGFORD Town's youth side are the kings of Denmark, writes DAVE RYAN.
They upset the odds to win the prestigious Dana Cup in northern Denmark.
More than 850 teams entered the tournament - the world's third-largest youth football tournament with 64 teams in Town's age section.
After finishing runners-up last season, manager Paul Attfield took a squad of 15 players.
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Each side was in a mini group of four teams with Town drawn with Tolo IF from Sweden and Norwegian sides Kongsberg IF and Floya IF.
Town had three days preparation for the first Tuesday morning game against Tolo IF, and a convincing opening gave Buntingford a 4-0 win.
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Gary Christie, David Cain and Ashley Townsend made it 3-0 at half-time.
Townsend had a penalty saved in the second half before completing the scoring with a header.
They had a six-hour break before their evening game against Floya IF.
This time they won 5-0 as the pace of Town's game proved a constant problem.
Carl Simmonds headed home a second-minute Luke Robins' corner and Townsend doubled the lead before half-time.
Second-half goals from Robins, Jan Stephens and a deft Endacott chip put them in pole position to win their group.
Their remaining group game was played on Wednesday afternoon against Kongsberg IF who had also won their opening two group games.
In exceedingly hot temperatures, Town again controlled proceedings and two first-half goals from Tom Malins and Will Turl meant Town had topped their group and would play a group runner-up in their last-32 knockout round.
They took on German side Heeren BSV/09 on Thursday evening and 15-year-old goalkeeper Jordan Gibson made a fine one-on-one block early on.
Town took the lead in first-half injury time when Jamie Morriss volleyed a fine strike from 20 yards.
With the German side pressing for an equaliser, late goals from Ashley Townsend and Malins gave Town a creditable 3-0 outcome.
The Friday game schedule was what Town's six-week fitness preparation had been for, with the possibility of playing three 50-minute games to make Saturday morning's final.
In the last 16, Town drew Norwegian side Varegg Nordnes and the match proved tight with few clear opportunities.
Turl went closest with a second-half header that hit the top of a post but with no goals scored and no extra time being played the game went to penalties.
Gibson turned out to be the hero as he saved the Norwegian's first two attempts and with Town converting through Morriss, Jake Tyler, Robins and Mark Roach, Town won 4-1 to set up a mouthwatering quarter-final clash with Brazilian side Hipica Campina.
The game, played in searing afternoon temperatures, did not start well for Town.
They went behind early when a weak effort deflected in off Malins but they gained the initiative and equalised before half-time when Endacott reacted quickest to David Cain's saved header to score.
The physical and theatrical Brazilians had a player sent off early in the second half for kicking Cain, but they were well organised enough to defend in numbers.
Despite some close misses, Town could not find the all-important second goal and the game went to penalties.
Dean Chaffey missed his penalty in the initial five efforts and with the Brazilian side having a kick to win the tie, Gibson again prevailed with another outstanding save.
Townsend missed in sudden death, as did the next Brazilian penalty-taker. Buntingford edged ahead 6-5 thanks to Malins and Endacott before Gibson again saved to send a jubilant Town into the semi-finals.
There was a break of just two-and-a-half hours before a clash against London-based Bangladeshi side Camden United.
Town's fitness began to tell as they controlled the game. Camden had older, more experienced players, but Buntingford played with pace and enthusiasm and early second-half goals from Jan Stephens and Ashley Townsend into the final against Spanish side Ostadar KF.
The Saturday morning cup final in the main Hjorring stadium was played on a hot sunny day in front of a large crowd about 2,000 with a large English following.
After losing in the final last season, Town were motivated to win and put on a fine show for the large crowd.
A controlled performance saw an Endacott header and close-range Ashley Townsend volley give Town a half-time two goal lead.
Despite the Spanish side coming on strongly in the second half, only a deflected free-kick five minutes from the end could be mustered and UEFA referee Rene Christiansen's full-time whistle started ecstatic celebrations.
Squad: Jordan Gibson, Jake Tyler, Lewis Endacott, Dean Chaffey, Mark Roach, Carl Simmonds, David Cain, Will Turl, Jamie Morriss, Conor De Lacy, Luke Robins, Tom Malins, Gary Christie, Ashley Townsend, Jan Stephens.