EFL Tournament Bodymoor Heath 17/6/17 – Runners Up
Birmingham’s over 50’s long unbeaten run in major tournaments (penalty shoot outs aside) finally came to an end in the final of the prestigious EFL Finals, as they took the runners up medals home in blistering heat at Bodymoor Heath. They became the only team in the country to qualify for the three major tournament finals (National Championships, Peoples Cup and EFL Trophy), their unbeaten run stretching back to November 2016.
Goals were at a premium as defences proved difficult to breakdown, their first two fixtures against Dagenham and Redbridge and Sheffield United producing two goalless games. Plymouth were then beaten 2-1 and Gillingham 1-0 with goals from Dave Wright 2 and Andrew Struthers. Needing only a point from their final fixture against Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham totally dominated and took a 1-0 lead with another class finish from Wright. Just before the final whistle Blackburn sneaked an equaliser, but the Blues had made it through to the final remaining unbeaten.
Holders Blackpool stood in their way, once again Birmingham totally dominated but were unable to breach the Blackpool goal, extra time ensued and still no deadline could be broken. Penalties would decide who met Sheffield United in the final, after 28 successful conversions Blackpool were denied by a brilliant Rob Castle save, this left David Castle to slot home the winner and put his side through to the final 15-14 on penalties
Before the final Paul Murtagh and Ian Gough took part in an exhibition game for prostate cancer against former Aston Villa players including Ian Taylor, Sean Teale and Brian Small. The two gave a good account of themselves despite the pedigree of the opposition, in one such move Ian Gough laid a perfect pass to Murtagh who turned Ian Taylor but unfortunately hit the post. Aston Villa’s experience shone through in the end and ran out 3-1 winners in a deserved victory.
The final took place shortly afterwards and a game played in excellent spirit with two strong teams Sheffield United finally breached Birmingham goal and Rob Castle was finally beaten after a string of fine saves.
Manager Paul Murtagh commented that “we gave an excellent performance throughout today, Dave Wright was as usual a threat to all the defences, Andy Struthers worked tirelessly supported by Kev Reid and Simon Dyer, Shay Flaherty never lets me down and Dave Castle was his usual brick wall at the back, but for me Rob Castle, a reluctant goalkeeper, was our man of the tournament. We have qualified for every major final which no other club in the country has done, we just need that little bit of luck and I’m sure one of them will be ours soon.”
Use this following link to read the write up – http://www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk/
Watch the short video – https://youtu.be/zY666RbOI60