Football: Young guns aiming to rediscover best form
A JUNIOR football team from Grimsby is chasing more silverware after netting a trophy treble last season.
Mark Stuart is beginning his sixth season as manager of a Discoveries Safer Communities team that has packed the trophy cabinet from Under-7 to Under-16 level.
After completing a league and cup double at both Under-12 and Under-13 level, last season the team went one better – winning three competitions: the McDonald's Cup, the Lincolnshire County Cup, and a Northern Junior Champions League invitation event, in Middlesbrough.
The youngsters have won the McDonald's Cup, the final of which is held at Scunthorpe United's Glanford Park ground, in the last three consecutive seasons. At Under-13 level, they won it playing against opposition in the year above.
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They have also won an annual summer event in Blackpool, which attracts teams from across the north of England, four times in the last six visits.
This season, the Discoveries outfit – now an Under-15s team– are competing in the Scunthorpe Jack Kalson Under-16 League Division One, as well as three cup competitions.
They have played two games so far, bouncing back from a 2-1 defeat first time out to win their next match 3-1 away from home.
Stuart said: "The team are not only very talented footballers; they are great lads. The team spirit is amazing.
"This season, the team is largely the same. We lost a couple of lads but have brought in a few to strengthen the squad.
"They all give 100 per cent whenever they play, never knowing when they are beaten – which has stood us in good stead playing against bigger and stronger lads a year older."
Discoveries came through a tense penalty shoot-out to win the Northern Junior Champions League.
After winning their group on goal difference, they beat Liverpool-based Kenbury Boys 2-1 in the last four.
The final, a close affair against Stockton Boys, finished 0-0 after normal time.
Discoveries won the shoot-out 3-0. Goalkeeper Thomas Hill saved all three Stockton penalties, while Lee Baume, Joe Stuart and Cameron Houson were on target from the spot to clinch victory.