Last week, the Chambers FC first team made their return to tournament football, competing in the 6-a-side Essex Business Soccer Tournament featuring some of the leading professional services firms across the county. After a group stage exit at Roots Hall last year, we had a point to prove! After much deliberation, we decided that a squad of 8 would be sufficient.
Drawn in a group with Lambert Chapman and Towergate, we watched as a one-sided opener between the two ended 5-0 in favour of Lambert Chapman. Our first game to take place was against Towergate, and we knew a win would see us automatically through to the Quarter Finals. After a nervy start, which saw Towergate take a 1-0 lead, we regained our composure thanks to a superb hat-trick from Jason Reynolds. At 3-1 we looked comfortable, although Towergate were able to sneak a consolation. However, it wasn’t enough as they crashed out at the group stage, meaning Chambers FC and Lambert Chapman were through, but not before a head to head decide who topped the group.
It was a fierce battle in which Jason gave Chambers the lead early on. However, Lambert Chapman began to pile on the pressure in their search for an equaliser. Save after save from James kept them at bay, whilst Andy, Darren and Jodi formed a formidable wall in defence. Jason and Cody always looked a threat on the counter, but eventually the pressure was too great, and Lambert Chapman pulled level. Adam and Jim came on and injected some energy in our performance. Against the run of play, Jodi finished off a slick move to give us a 2-1 victory, meaning that Chambers FC topped the group.
The Quarter Finals saw us drawn against Metro Bank who had appeared a strong outfit in their group. The game was tough as both sides were feeling the effects of a third back-to-back game. Metro took the lead about mid-way through, but Jason was able to level it up late on, meaning that the game went to a penalty shoot-out.
It was best of 3, and Metro stepped up first. Despite a thunderbolt of a penalty, James managed to get a strong left hand on the shot to tip it onto the crossbar. Jason stepped up for Chambers and the result was inevitable, GOAL! Metro Bank stepped up for the second penalty, but James once again pulled off a save, meaning Jodi had to score for us to progress to the Semi-Finals. It was a confident penalty which found the bottom corner. We were through, though by this point, exhausted, and keen to find out who we would meet in the Semi Finals.
After two previous meetings, a 7-5 win for us, and a 6-5 win for them, we were drawn against MJ Bushell Chartered Accountants. A decider we had been pushing for for months was finally set to take place, and there was nowhere for anyone to hide. The game was tense, and both teams struggled severely for fitness. However, through tenacity and desire, Chambers FC were able to conjure up the game’s decisive moment when a superb pass from Adam picked out Jason, who calmly finished to give us a 1-0 lead. A big defensive effort from the Chambers back line saw the game out, meaning we were through to the final.
However, whilst all this had been going on, Lambert Chapman had been making progress of their own through the knockouts, meaning the final was a repeat of our group game.
Both teams gave it everything despite overwhelming fatigue. Lambert Chapman took an early lead after some slick play and some unreal saves from their ‘keeper gave them a deserved 1-0 victory in the final at the end of a gruelling evening of football.
Congrats Lambert Chapman on the win. By our count, that’s now 1-1 in games and it would be great to get a decider set up for some time in the future.
Thank you also to Paul Bridgeman and Clive Emson Auctioneers for putting on a superb event. It was a highly enjoyable evening and we hope to take part in any similar events in the future.