Guiseley AFC Academy culminated an amazing season for Dave Currie’s young charges by following up their National League Divisional title win and subsequent Champion of Champions Play-off final appearance with success in the PGMOL VAR U-18 tournament.
The tournament was organised by the Premier League to give the Professional Game Match Officials Limited practice with the VAR system for next season.
They invited teams who had won their league in the National League Youth Alliance and the English Colleges League.
Currie said:”It was a great experience for the players to be officiated by Premiership and Football League officials, experience the VAR system up close and also experience the world-class facilities at St George’s Park.”
Played over three days at the impressive FA’s St George’s Park complex in Burton on Trent the Guiseley lads not only convincingly won the tournament but also picked up individual awards for Albert Ibrahimi (Player-of-the-Tournament) and Jack Lazenby (Goal-of-the-Tournament).
Guiseley defeated Park View Sports Academy, who are associated with Carlisle United, 5-0 in the final scoring five times in the second-half as they stepped up the tempo following a goalless first-half.
Park View had beaten the much fancied Sutton United 3-1 in their semi-final.
Goals came from newcomer Akram Aaliyah 2, Albert Ibrahimi, Luke Hogg and Joe Webster.
Ibrahimi carried off the Player-of-Tournament award after scoring eight goals in the six games, including a hat-trick against Telford United in their second Group game, which they won 4-1 with Jack Lazenby netting the other goal.
All three Group games were played in one day and in those Guiseley also defeated Woking FC
3-0, with goals from Lazenby, Ibrahimi and debutant Aliyu, and Pro Direct London, who were defeated 4-0 with goals from Ibrahimi, Hogg, Lewis Jackson and Lewis Waddington.
These wins lined Guiseley up for a quarter-final clash with Eastwood FC who succumbed 4-0 as goals came from Tabish Hussain, Webster and Lazenby 2.
In the semi-finals Guiseley triumphed 3-0 over Gordon Strachan’s Foundation after leading 2-0 at the break with a double strike from Ibrahimi.
Hussain sealed the passage to the final with a third goal in the second-half.
The players enjoyed the full range of facilities at St George’s Park including using hydrotherapy pools.
This concludes a triumphant season for Guiseley Academy whose Under-16 squad also carried off the national title.
Some of Currie’s young protégées are now looking forward to joining the first team squad for pre-season training with new joint managers Russ O’Neill and Marcus Bignot keen to assess their capabilities.
The club are on a mission to bring #GuiseleyTogether by asking new and existing fans to back the lower priced model with a commitment to making football in Guiseley affordable for all the family. Adult season tickets are priced at only £150 compared to £240 last season, order yours online here.