LMH FC (Eng)

2*

V

2

Red Cow Belgrade (Eng)

Shahs of Sunset (Eng)

3

v

0

Bede FC (Eng)

AFC Shooters B (Eng)

1

V

1*

VSG United (Ltu)

3 Lions FC (Eng)

2

V

1

AFC Shooters A (Eng)

* LMH FC (Eng) won 3-2 on penalties

* VSG United (Ltu) won 2-0 on penalties
 

We arrived at the Plate Quarter-Final stage and we would shortly see eight teams reduced to four teams. The first two teams to do battle were LMH FC and Red Cow Belgrade.

Red Cow Belgrade were somewhat specialists at this level having qualified 3 times out of 4 from Quarter-Finals in the past. LMH FC were breaking new ground as they failed to reach the knock-out phase at the 2016 Budapest Fives. This was their time to shine and they begun well going into half-time with a 1-0 lead thanks to a Dominic Rea goal.

Red Cow Belgrade hit back in the second half with two goals from Daz Bray but it was not enough to win the game not in normal time anyway. They would need a penalty shoot-out as a Mark Hornsey goal in the second half meant the scores were level 2-2 at full-time.

A penalty shoot-out was required. Red Cow Belgrade had two successful shoot-outs on their CV (5-4 v ADP Netherlands at the 2014 Barcelona Fives, 2-1 v It's Back at the 2015 Lisbon Tournament). They had lost their previous one though (3-1) in the 2015 Lisbon Tournament Trophy Final against Frank Hirth A.

LMH FC were to shoot first with Roy Wheeler scoring down the middle. Tom Goyski immediately levelled it up at 1-1 also going down the middle. Rex Worth went low to his left and sent Dom Leonard the wrong way in the Red Cow Belgrade goal. Daz Bray went hard and low but Michael Grogan got a touch on it but couldn't keep it out and it was 2-2.

Dominic Rea was the next man to shoot his penalty down the middle and he was successful to make it 3-2. It was Joe Smith with the last regular penalty. It was a placed penalty but the goalkeeper went the right way and saved it. Michael Grogan was the hero for LMH FC and even moreso with news that emerged after the tournament that the previous penalty had broken his wrist (a double fracture). In the annals of football injury heroism there will be Bert Trautmann and then there will be Michael Grogan.

 
 
 

The second Quarter-Final saw Bede FC versus Shahs of Sunset. Shahs of Sunset would consider themselves unlucky not to be in the Cup competition as they finished joint top of Group B with 9 points but would end up finishing in third position on goal difference. They would therefore be considered favourites for the Plate as the top ranked side in the competition from the group phase.

Shahs of Sunset could consider themselves even more unlucky when you consider the fact this is the second time it had happened to them. At the 2013 Barcelona Fives they also finished joint top with 9 but were third on goal difference. They duly went on to win their Plate Quarter-Final that day (1-0 versus Spain's ADP Madness).

When we looked up the record books for Bede FC's history in the knock-out phase we were surprised to read that in their previous 6 tournaments they had failed to win a knock-out game. This further strengthened the claim that Shahs of Sunset would be favourites for this one.

Shahs of Sunset lived up to their billing as favourites with Martin Weltman putting them ahead in the first half. After the interval Freddie Milne made it 2-0 before Martin Weltman claimed his second of the game and his sixth of the tournament to seal a fine 3-0 win and march into the Semi-Finals.

It was farewell to Bede FC whose hoodoo in the knock-out phase continued for another year.

 
 
 

AFC Shooters B against VSG United was Quarter-Final 3. VSG United were on debut so would be entering unchartered waters in our Plate competition. They came into the game with one win from four games but a zero goal difference. This was largely due to a thumping 7-0 win over Wealdstone Raiders the biggest win of the entire tournament.

AFC Shooters B qualified for this game with a record of 6 points from 12 in Group B with a goal difference of -1. The squad featured 5 of the 6 members of the AFC Shooters A team that won the Plate at the 2015 Algarve Open. Could they go on and win a second Plate? If they were successful they would become the 10 th team to win the Plate on two (or more) occasions.

We reached half-time with the two teams level at 1-1. A JJ Monserat goal for AFC Shooters B and a Michael Rukin goal for VSG United cancelled each other out. The game was perfectly poised for the second half but neither team could find a successful route to goal so we finished at 1-1 and would need a penalty shoot-out to decide which team would progress to the Semi-Finals.

It would be VSG United to take the first strike but it was missed to swing momentum in favour of AFC Shooters B. Steve Comber was to take the penalty but he could not take full advantage and we stayed at 0-0. VSG United were successful with their second penalty to go ahead. Matt Bailey had the chance to level it at 1-1 but the opportunity went begging. The fifth penalty was a chance for VSG United to seal the win the penalty went to Steve Comber's right and although he got a hand to it there was too much pace on it. VSG United were through, 2-0 on penalties.

AFC Shooters B went out at this stage of the competition at the 2015 Algarve Open on penalties after a 1-1 draw. History had repeated itself here in Vilnius.

 
 
 

The final Quarter-Final was 3 Lions FC versus AFC Shooters A. Before the Quarter-Finals began there was the possibility of an all AFC Shooters Semi-Final but those hopes were extinguished with the VSG United victory on Pitch C. The Shooters A team carried their last hopes of glory in Lithuania.

3 Lions FC came into the game as favourites with their 3rd placed finish in the group phase. They had 1 win and 2 draws to their name with just the one defeat. AFC Shooters A had lost their three games on the field and had conceded 13 goals in those games.

After the early exchanges it looked like this game would be much closer than the billing we had given it in the previous paragraph. Jamie Hall was making his European debut for AFC Shooters A here in Vilnius having appeared in 4 tournaments for It's Back between 2013 and 2016 taking in Krakow, Berlin, Lisbon and Riga on his travels. He'd already bagged a goal in the group phase and he was on target here again in the knock-out phase. AFC Shooters A had a vital 1-0 lead.

3 Lions FC would not be behind for long as Stacey Cross scored his fourth of the tournament to level it up. 3 Lions FC completed the comeback when Tasneem Radim made it 2-1. From a goal down, 3 Lions FC were ahead at the break. There was to be no further addition to the score in the second half and 3 Lions FC were through.

 
 
 
Group Phase
 
 
Wooden Spoon
 
 
Plate Knock-out
 
Cup Knock-out
 
 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
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