Sunday, 4 February 2007

We've done our bit

4th February 2007

It was difficult knowing that Ladywood and Ripley wouldn't be playing there match today so we wouldn't really know where we stand until next weekend but we just had to concentrate on our own performance and not worry about them. We were up against Huthwaite who were fighting to stay in the top 5. We had to be a little cautious as we lost 5-3 to them the last time although we were playing 5 v 7 and were by far the better team - so much so that they didn't realise we only had 5 all through the match.

Unsurprisingly there was an extra face in the crowd, Ripley's manager and son. I was surprised to not see the Ladywood manager there as it would be more in their favour if we dropped points today, Ripley are all but out of it. I was a little taken aback by the son who is a player for Ripley who shook my hand at the start of the match and commented that if Ripley weren't gonna win the league, they wanted us to. Good stuff and very sporting.

I was confident we would win but kept level headed. I named the strongest team possible and we went straight for the jugular. I started for the first time this year with 2 strikers and it seamed to pay off. We took the lead within 5 minutes and doubled the lead about 5 minutes before half time. Young Jordan Hill is having a strange season, he seams to have become a lot less confident, shirking challenges, shooting under any small sign of opposition pressure, no matter how far out he is, but yet he has still bagged 23 this season which is a great record, putting him joint second top scorer so far this campaign. It was Jordan who helped us go 2-0 up. The first he made a great run down the left wing and to say we've not done an awful lot of crossing on the narrow 7-a-side picthes, he put in an excellent ball for last years hitman Joe Truman to volley home. Jordan scored the second pouncing on a loose ball after an initial shot was saved.

In the final 5 minutes of the half Huthwaite came back into it and it looked as though a goal was gonna come. It was 2-0 at half time and I told the lads to remain cautious, their task wasn't complete yet. With Huthwaite coming back at us, were they to score now the game would be wide open. I reverted to a more defensive formation and as expected Huthwaite came flying out the blocks. They controlled the next 5 minutes and did find a goal but it was to be there last patch of action as their goal seemed to give our lads a much needed kick up the ass. Little Danny Watterson had the game of his life as he tore Huthwaite to peices. Jordan grabbed his hat trick in an emphatic 4-1 victory and our job was done.

We are now 3 points clear at the top with a goal difference that betters Ladywood by 6 - although this is irrelevant as the league no matter what will not be decided on goal difference. We found out the time for next week's match between Ladywood and Ripley and then went for a celebratory drink as per usual.

So, going itno the final weekend of this league, this is how it stands:

1. Welbeck Pl 18 Pts 40
2. Ladywood Pl 18 Pts 37
3. Ripley Pl 17 Pts 34

With Ripley only having lost 1 game all season and conceding a mere 8 goals in 17 games, you would put your money on them getting a result next week, if they really want to. The previous encounter went Ripley's way 2-0 so anything similar to this would be ideal. They still have second place to play for - joint second that is. No team would surely send their kids out to lose, would they? At the end of the day I guess it'll be down to the kids and who wants it the most. We'll be their giving Ripley that extra encouragement!!

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