Scotland’s first involvement in European club football came in Geneva last weekend as Tayside Dynamos made the trip to Switzerland. It took a lot of fundraising and a lot of organising to get them there but boy was it worth it. The Goals Beyond Grass Geneva’s Cup has a great reputation within Powerchair Football and we saw why.
Six players and a van load of chairs set off from the Dundee area not knowing what lay ahead, they were looking forward to competing but more importantly to develop and learn from the other teams and the experience in general.
They started the tournament in pool B against Les Egles de Vevay from Switzerland and despite a nervy start they grew into the game and came out 5-1 winners. This was there only game on the opening day. With three games on the Saturday which they knew would be tough tests it was good to get the win under their belts.
The evening spent in the Ramada Encore hotel helped to relax the players and a 6-2 win for Dundee Utd in the Dundee derby that night certainly helped team captain Eythan Galloway.
Day 2 was to be a steep learning curve, up against three French team it was always going to be tough but when Nicky Duncan put Tayside one up from a lovely set play hopes were high but a goal right at the end of the half meant St Etienne came out in the second half buoyed and three second half goals saw them run out 4-1 winner. A more comfortable score than they probably deserved.
Next up was Chatenay, this was up another level for Tayside. Chatenay are one of the top teams in France and despite some brave play and goalkeeping from Kristen McMaster in goal they ran out comfortable winners with a 12-0 score line. A real learning experience. To Tayside’s credit they played the game the way the coach Garry Johnstone set out.
Final game of the day was against the Grizzly’s from Limoges. Tayside again played well but couldn’t impose themselves on the French team as much as they wanted and they went down 4-0. A tough day against some top opposition.
That evening saw Alexander Johnstone go pitch side in the Stade De Geneve, raising the saltire in front of Servette FC fans along with a player from each of the clubs. They received a fantastic reception. It was then on to the celebration dinner, it was truly magic, so was the food and the company and another night passed where players mingled with those from France, Switzerland and Germany.
The final day for Tayside saw them play German Club Barmstedt Knights. A closely fought match ended in a 2-2 draw and so it went to penalties. Logan Mitchelson in goals was unable to keep out any German penalties and although Kein Speed and Nicky Duncan scored there’s Eythan Galloway done a Bryan Weiss and hit the post. So it was a 7th place finish for Tayside. What an experience though.
In Pool A the European All Stars were rampant winning all four games and they qualified for the semi finals along with the home team Les Pheonix De Geneve. They faced up to St Etienne and Chatenay. No real surprise that both Chatenay and All Stars made it through to the final with the All Stars coming out on top and retaining the trophy won last year. St Etienne took third place with a last gasp winner against the side from Geneva.
So a real step forward for Tayside, well done to all the players
Eythan Galloway – Logan Mitchelson – Kein Speed – Alexander Johnstone – Kristin McMaster – Nicky Duncan
Thanks to Nathalie from the Swiss Powerchair Football Association, Brian Dix and his Goals Beyond Grass Team and to all the volunteers who helped make this a fantastic tournament.
Another first for Scottish Powerchair Football as we further enhanced our growing reputation in the sport, roll on 2020 when Clyde Alba head to Geneva for the EPFA Champions Cup
A massive thanks to Alexandra Johnstone Photography for the fantastic pictures