Pupils on the ball for South Leeds football tournament organised by police

Lads and lasses from six South Leeds primary schools battled it out in a blistering 7-a-side football tournament organised by the area’s Neighbourhood Policing Team.

Middleton Park Councillors Paul Truswell, Kim Groves and Judith Blake provided funding for the event, which also included play equipment for those not engaged on the field of play. Beside the hosts, St Mary’s Middleton, the primary schools taking part were St Philips, Windmill, Westwood, Middleton and Thorpe.

Councillor Truswell, who attended on behalf of his colleagues, praised the commitment of Sgt Richard Hunter and the NPT officers who staged the event and the enthusiasm of the youngsters who put their heart and soul into it.

Middleton and Westwood contested the final. Though Middleton had beaten their fellow finalists 4-1 in the group stage, the final balanced on a knife edge. Westwood’s determination matched Middleton’s individual skills and intricate passing, and a hard-fought first half ended goalless.

Westwood broke the deadlock soon after the break, but Middleton equalised from the restart. The end-to-end game looked to be heading for penalties when Middleton captain Jeremie Milambo cracked in a superb winner with the last kick of the match to give his side a 2-1 victory.

Councillor Truswell said:

“It’s hard to say who enjoyed it more, the youngsters or the adults. You could hardly ask for more excitement. Middleton even had a controversial ‘was it over the line?’ equaliser that meant the NPT officer refereeing the final had to go home with a police escort!”

Councillor Truswell presented captain Jeremie with the Winning Team and Player-of-the-Tournament trophies, and Westwood’s T J Simpson with the Man-of-the-Match award.