The proud senior walking footballers of Mansfield Town have won medals at a national tournament held at St George’s Park, the FA home of all the England teams.
The ‘One Tournament’ is held for players of all ages every year at the Burton base, and Stags’ walking football squad, representing Mansfield Town Football In The Community, entered two teams in the Super 5s Series for over-50s.
One of the teams, Mansfield Town Blue, finished second in their group and although they were then knocked out by Stamford Strollers, the eventual winners, they received medals for reaching the semi-finals.
Stags’ other side, Mansfield Town Yellow, suffered three defeats in their group, but both teams received lots of praise from coach Alex Cartwright.
“I’m really proud of our walking football squad as a collective,” said Cartwright.
“This was a national tournament and extremely competitive, with the format giving all teams the chance to take home some silverware.
“I’d like to express my thanks to the organisers for the invitation and I am already looking forward to next year’s competition when we can, hopefully, progress further after gaining more experience.”
The Blue team started with a goalless draw against Asha Healthcare before being handed an automatic 3-0 victory over Luton, who withdrew from the tournament late on.
Game three ended in a defeat at the hands of Northampton Town before goals from Alan Wilson and John Burnet secured a 2-0 victory over Mancom in game four. Another goalless draw followed in the final group match when the Stags were held by Harborough Hornets.
Mansfield Town Yellow faced a much tougher test in their group and were beaten 3-0 by Wokingham and Emmbrook in their opening game. Two more defeats followed as the Yellows fell 1-0 to Taggers and then 3-0 to Stamford Strollers.
Two goals from Aidy Spencer then put the Stags into a 2-1 lead over AFC Wimbledon in game four, but a harsh, late penalty denied them victory. A 1-0 defeat at the hands of Watford Walkers in game five ended the Yellow team’s journey.
Speaking on the feats of the two sides, Cartwright added: “While we split the squads at random, a lot of the players in the Yellow team hadn’t had much tournament experience and that showed in the first couple of games.
“However, the way they played against AFC Wimbledon with the two goals, the guys can be very proud and it’s given us a platform to
“The Blues did really well in getting through to the semi-final stage with the 2-0 win over Mancom earning the second-placed finish. With a little more luck here and there, they’d have topped the group.
“Every player in the squad, regardless of which team they were in, supported each other and that’s what we will take away from this tournament. As a collective, we reached a semi-final and took home medals for the club.”
The Stags’ senior walking footballers are now looking forward to their next competition, the Walter Edwards Memorial Trophy, which will be held at the Radford and Hymas (RH) Academy in Mansfield next month.
New players, aged 45 and over, are always welcome at the club’s walking football sessions, which take place on Wednesdays at the RH Academy between 6 pm and 7 pm and on Saturdays at the One Call Stadium between 9 pm and 10 pm.
The sessions cost £4 per player. For more information, e-mail email@example.com