Football

RAF U23s Head Coach: 'Hardest Work Is Done' After Army Win

Sergeant Leon Duke said “you don’t get given stuff” after a 2-1 win for the RAF.

Sergeant Leon Duke is looking ahead to the final game of this year’s Inter Services U23 Championship after a 2-1 win for his RAF side in Aldershot.

The win over the Army in the opening game of the tournament came thanks to a 94th-minute winner from Kyle Willis.

After the game, Sgt Duke said that “the hardest of work is done” but that they still need to “put a performance in”.

He said: "We say all the time that if you want to win this tournament, you have to win two games. It’s as simple as that.

"In my 17 years of coming to Aldershot, you don’t get given stuff here.

"We’ve gone and fought it out and now we need to put some stuff right and put a performance in."

The Army will play the Navy next week but the RAF can win the title with a victory over the Senior Service in Oxford.

When asked what he is saying to his players after the Army win, Duke said: “[I’d tell them to] calm down and relax.

"Forget about football for a couple of days and then we come back to it.

"It’s three points but let’s move on. Let’s almost forget about it.

"[The points] are in the bank and we go from there."

Liam Wood scored a stunning half-volley as the RAF came from a goal down to win the match.

For the Army, the loss makes them unlikely to win the championship but a win against the Navy could swing the odds in their favour.

Their head coach, Staff Sergeant Gerwyn Griffiths, wants his team to remain positive.

He said: "It’s very difficult that it is out of our control now.

"The only thing we can go and do is beat the Navy with a decent goal difference and hope the Navy do us a favour away at the RAF.”

SSgt Griffiths was full of praise for RAF goalkeeper James Rutherford who put in an impressive performance against his team.

"I think the goalkeeper has won them the game arguably.

"Our centre-forward has done the right thing. He’s put the ball towards the side of the goalkeeper and he’s made a cracking save at a vital time in the game. Fair play to him."