Sunday, 18 February 2007

Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over!!

18th February 2007

Well, today is judgement day! Set off for Kirkby Bentinct football pitches at 12pm picking James and Ben up on the way. We got there just as Ripley and Ladywood kicked off the match that was to determine if we would win the league today, or have to wait yet another week and play a playoff to determine the champions.

The game was quite scruffy and it was hard to imagine that these two teams put us under so much pressure for the duration of the season. Ripley for a while looked solid at the back yet posed no threat going forward, whilst Ladywood looked like they could be weak at the back yet offer something in attack. I guess we would have to hope it would be 0-0.

Ripley finally created a few chances but didn't seem to have anyone who knew how to finish whilst Ladywood tried to counter at every opportunity. Suddenly, a shot from nowhere broke the deadlock. Ripley, who had only conceded 8 goals in 17 before today had been beaten again but this was a special goal. From all of 20 yards out it arrowed into the top corner.

Even with another half to go our hopes of winning the league today crumbled as I would bet my house that Ripley wouldn't score today. At half time, I reassured myself that this weekend would be a very good weekend after the dramatic win yesterday. The second half got underway and again Ladywood put Ripley under pressure. Ripley began to see more of the ball in Midfield and a young lad who hung about on the left of midfield beat his marker on several occasions but had no cross in him so posed little threat.

A couple of up and unders were the closest Ripley came to scoring but both hard and high hit balls were collected safely by the Ladywood keeper who was put under very little pressure each time. With 5 minutes to go a Ladywood player hit a beauty that looked to make it 2-0 and would have had it not been for a fantastic save from young Flynn in the Ripley goal.

After a few more scrappy minutes of play the referee indicated that there were just 30 seconds of play left. I felt drained as I had banked on Ripley getting some sort of result here today. The ball was at the feet of the Ripley keeper who hoofed the ball forward. It seamt like the first time this season, more than 2 Ripley players had ventured forward in search of a goal. The ball was played down the left wing and the young lad without a cross suddenly produced a superb one which was met at the back post by a superb - although slightly sliced - volley. It all looked slow motion, I remember watching the referee thinking 'don't blow that whistle!!' The volley had it been met sweeter would have probably gone across the goal towards the back post, either being stopped by the keeper or the mass of bodies in front but due to the slight slice, it swung into the top corner!! 1-1!!! The refereee blew his whistle and we all went crazy!!

Championees, championess, ole, ole, ole!!

Coming off the back of last seasons cup win, this was special. We still have a league and cup to play for this year so we could be in for more drama but for now we'll savour every moment of this!! I was a little dissapointed in the fact we had to wait on other results to know if we had won and the fact we had only 5 or 6 of our lads there watching as I know the atmosphere and celebrations would have been a lot better had we won the league on the back of our own match.

We went for a traditional celebratory drink in the Ashfield pub down the road from the pitch and had a good chat amongst ourselves of the lads' progress this season. Maybe this will install some self-belief into the team and we can resurrect our Saturday season.

During the few hours we stayed at the pub, I beat one of the regular members of our fanbase 7-1 at pool :) Somebody stop me! :P

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