It was an extra special day last Friday for seven boys from St Joseph’s Primary School as they travelled to Crewe to represent Oldham Athletic in the northern finals of the Football League Kids Cup.
The boys had qualified for the northern finals after winning the Oldham heats of the competition, beating 34 other primary schools to become the Oldham Athletic Kids Cup winners.
Oldham Athletic (St Josephs) had five group games to play on the day in Crewe, being drawn against Port Vale, Crewe Alexandra, Carlisle United, Bradford City and Notts County with the top two from the group progressing through to the semi-finals. The young Latics recorded two wins and three draws from the group games resulted in a nail-biting wait to see whether they had done enough to progress, however no-one had needed to worry as they booked a place in the semi-finals with a second-placed finish in the group.
Preston North End awaited Oldham in the semi-finals, with Preston being the winners of group B. It was a game in which Oldham dominated, with the woodwork and the Preston goalkeeper being tested on several occasions. Unfortunately, despite the constant pressure, the youngsters just could not find a winner – this meant a penalty shootout. Latics were successful in their first two penalties and established a two-nil lead, however the next three Oldham penalties were saved and Preston eventually came back to win the shoot-out 3-2.
Martin Vose, Oldham Athletic Community Trust Participation Manager commented: “The boys have done fantastically well to reach the semi-finals of a national competition. They have come to Crewe and represented both their school and Oldham Athletic and have done everybody proud. Their performances both on and off the pitch were of the highest quality. It was a privilege to come and watch these boys play some extraordinary football and they can only be proud of themselves.”
Notts County eventually went on to beat Preston North End in the final, booking their place at Wembley to play against the winners of the southern Kids Cup final prior to the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final in May.
From everybody at Oldham Athletic well done to: Keaton Wright, Tom Smith, Tom Bailey, Bailey Marsden, Patrick Killeen, Joe Hewson, Kade Wrigley