Line ups

RAF U23s Shoot Down the Army

The RAF MDS/U23s won the opening fixture of this season’s Inter-Services tournament by defeating a stubborn Army team 2-0 at the Tithe Farm Sports and Social Club Stadium on Wednesday 7th Feb. With a lot of experience in both starting line-ups the opening stages were a cagey affair, with neither team able to dominate or control the tempo of the game. However after about 15 mins a hopeful ball slung forward caught the Army defence napping and the keeper elected to punch clear but could only take out the leaping Jake Staunton who was left poleaxed. Penalty to the RAF! In the aftermath the keeper picked up a yellow card and despite a lengthy delay Dean Higham calmly slotted home the spot-kick. The Army tried to apply pressure and started to grow into the game and were unlucky not to draw level when their centre forward drilled a shot agonisingly wide after a strong run. Despite not being a bad tempered game 2 more yellows followed, both for cynical acts in the centre of the pitch which could easily have been avoided. Staunton then missed a great chance to double the RAF’s lead at the end of the half, putting a free header just wide with the keeper beaten. 

 Logan Buick scores

As expected the Army came out for the second half trying to dominate the game and pushing for the equalizer, coming desperately close when a header hit the cross bar then fell into the welcoming gloves of Joe Piercy as he lay prostate on the turf. The Army then managed to strike the woodwork again, this time their own however after a dangerous cross was swung into the box from the left after the Army centre half conceded a free kick with an agricultural challenge. Mid-way through the second half the RAF doubled their lead after great play on the left, including a showboat of a backheel followed by a defence splitting pass. The onrushing keeper was easily beaten by Logan Buick, who despite being pressured by a defender cooly passed the ball into an empty net. Although a few more chances came and went the RAF controlled the game well and dominated the midfield, the inevitable substitutions followed for both teams which slowed the game down and the victory never looked in doubt once they were 2-0 up. A frustrated Army team, many people’s tip for victory in the IS were well beaten 2-0 by a quality RAF performance.  

Adam Lamb with trophy


A jubilant Adam Lamb, captain of the U23s, was presented the winners trophy, the newly commissioned Neil Hope Trophy by Wing Commander Neil Hope MBE. The trophy was named after Wg Cdr Hope in recognition of decades of service to the RAF FA, the FA and an outstanding contribution to RAF Football, as well as establishing and leading the Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Charitable Appeal and the newly established Charlotte Hope Foundation.

Victory for the U23s

Huge congratulations to all those involved in the U23s set up, from players and coaches through to backroom staff, the hard work certainly paid off. Bring on the Navy!

Neil Hope MBE with the Neil Hope Trophy