Swindon Supermarine under 15s manager Chris Warren played down the impact of a North Wiltshire League Committee ruling that meant his starting eleven was missing four players and the match was abandoned after 57 minutes as they won they beat Purton 6-1 to lift the Under 15s cup.
Officials at the County Ground ruled that five of opponents Purton’s squad of 12, were ineligible to play in the afternoon’s final as they had represented another club, in another league that morning.
The FA rule states that youth players cannot play more than one game in a given day, unless both games are in the same tournament and each player is then limited to a total 100 minutes pitch time.
“We found out a couple of minutes before kick off,” said Warren.
“So I said to the boys, look it’s another challenge and let’s use this as a learning experience.”
The Supermarine boss was under no obligation to reduce the number of his starting line up, but he told the Adver that the thought never entered his head.
“Our big programme here is about developing the boys, giving them game time in a range of different situations. You can’t learn anything if it’s 11 versus 7, it doesn’t help anybody, but I was pleased with the performance.”
The game was abandoned after seventeen second half minutes immediately after Supermarine’s sixth goal, scored by Ashton Gleed.
Supermarine had raced into a two-goal lead as first Mathew Panella’Lach then Cameron Shrub created some space in the box and fired almost identical low right-footed drives across Tom Burgess and into the net.
Ten minutes later another quick-fire double made it 4-0 before the 20 minute mark with Louis O’Shea scoring both, first creating space for himself before finding the net, then was set up by Ben Powell, who danced his way into the box and unselfishly laid it off to O’Shea who put his finish in the top corner.
Purton’s only chance of the half came when Andrew Hunt broke through, but put his low drive at Supermarine keeper Sam Palmer.
Purton put Declan Harris, who had started the game up front, in goal for the last 10 minutes of the half and he produced two excellent saves in quick succession, enough to secure him the man-of-the-match award.
Purton grabbed a consolation within a minute of the restart as Toby Ferrison’s free kick was palmed down into the path of Fraser Little who knocked home.
However, Shrub scored his second five minutes later and when Gleed struck 10 minutes later, the Purton coaches brought their players off.
Purton coach Lee Smith said: “I didn’t want to send them out there, because I didn’t think it was safe to have seven-a-side on a full size pitch. The boys were cramping up and I had to bring them off for their own safety, the way the league handled it was a huge disappointment to me, the players and the families, we’ve all been let down.”