Under-18s coach Richie Abrams says his players are well-prepared for this weekend’s league title deciding clash with Floreat Athena. Inglewood United’s youth team heads to Litis Stadium on Saturday at the top of the competition ladder, one point clear of Bayswater City, who are home Stirling Lions.
Victory over Floreat will bring the regular season trophy to Inglewood for the first time and secure a talented group of players a unique place in Inglewood’s history. Abrams, who is in his second-year coaching at the club, believes lifting silverware on Saturday would be a worthy reward for his players efforts.
“I am absolutely delighted with what the lads have achieved this year,” Abrams said. “It’s a longer season than usual - 26 league games plus the Cup - and the group has performed very well. The lads have put in a lot of effort, at training and on matchdays, and that’s reflected in our league position.”
“Spending time with these players has been a privilege. Not only is there a lot of footballing ability in the group, there is a high level of character, respect and mateship within. And it is that character that has got us through games when the chips have been down and late goals have been needed.”
“Earlier on the season we were 4-1 down to Bayswater, who are a quality side and very well coached, and we came back to earn a 4-4 draw. I could see the value of the point gained on that day. And here we are, after 25 games, one point clear of Bayswater, just like the first team.”
That fighting spirit also came to the fore on the weekend when the Under-18s defeated Balcatta 2-0, a result which followed successive losses to Armadale and Cockburn City. “In those two games we learnt the consequences of not taking our chances, which cost us dearly,” said Abrams.
“On the weekend the boys turned in a very good second half performance against Balcatta and fully deserved to win the game. Their attitude and application was superb. We created a lot of very good chances and credit to Balcatta ‘keeper Jake Seymour, he pulled off some tremendous saves to keep us down to only two goals.”
“We’ve got one game to go and we’ll be preparing for it exactly as we would any other game. There’s a massive prize if we can get the three points, however, there is plenty to be done prior to and during the game. As a group we have come a long way this year and our focus is solely on finishing what we have started.”
Under-18 National Premier Leagues, Round 26
Floreat Athena vs Inglewood United
Saturday 26 August @ Litis Stadium, Leederville
Kick-off time 11.00am