Old Boys take Plate glory on Spanish trip
Norton Hill Old Boys won the Plate competition at their third Euro Football Five tournament in Mallorca.
After struggling for success at their previous events in Barcelona and Prague, the team had limited expectations which were not improved by heavy defeats at the hands of Spanish side Miran De Ese (5-0), Goldsmith Williams (4-0) and Cheesecake FC (6-0).
However, a change of tactics saw Omar Jones managing the team from the sidelines and this immediately paid off with a 2-1 victory over Spanish team Inextremes, despite Gus Gulliford being sent off for Norton in a bad-tempered game.
A 1-1 draw against fellow English side Whitely All Stars in the final group game was enough for Norton to finish fourth and qualify for the Plate.
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In the quarter-finals against Welsh team AFC Ramos, Norton raced into a two-goal lead through Mark Paget and Lee Baverstock.
Paget scored again in between two Ramos goals as Norton led 3-2 at half-time and Baverstock added his second after the break. The deficit was reduced again before Jones netted Norton's fifth to ensure their place in he last four.
An all English semi-final saw Norton take on Whitley Stags and go ahead through Paget.
With Norton well into their stride and playing good football, Tex Baber stung the keeper's hands with a free-kick and Baverstock missed a great chance with the goal gaping.
Whitely equalised but Baverstock netted his third of the tournament to restore Norton's lead. Homer Wilkinson made a double save from a penalty as Norton held on to book a rematch with Inextremes in the final.
A tight match saw Wilkinson make some good saves, while Baverstock hit the bar at the other end. Dave Thomas was tackled before he could get a shot away with only the keeper to beat but Paget gave Norton the lead after a quick throw from Wilkinson.
The Spaniards equalised but Baverstock set up Paget to restore Norton's lead and Inextremes then had a player sent off in the second half as the Old Boys held on for victory.