Scorers: Smith, Brade 3, Morruzi(honest)
And so to the final game on a day which in most cases would have meant a cancellation. Regardless of this we turned up keen and ready for the challenge. The ref had a look at the pitch and gave it the ok, although we must thank Mark Carter for re-marking some of the lines to satisfy the ref. All we needed now was some oppo, and with half hour to go they had three. To their credit they managed to get ten together and wanted to play the game. Other teams may have voided the game especially in such conditions. From our point of view it would have been a shame for the season to finish with a cancelled fixture.
With kick off approaching we set up with Michael in goal, Leon at right back, Ziggy at left back, Will and “Gloves” Jonesy in the centre. Across midfield were Liam, Jed, Jason and Fraser. Young Will sat in behind Ash who was looking to grab the golden boot. Morruzi and the skips graced the bench.
We started playing uphill in the first half and it took us a while to settle and play the football we know we can. Stationers matched us early on and the difference in numbers did not show. Gradually though we began to exert more pressure and keep the ball better. Leon especially was finding loads of space and pushed forward at every opportunity. Jed and Jason were grinding the oppo down in the centre and Fraser and Liam were stretching Stationers on the flanks. Ash finally began to concentrate on the game instead of his personal vendetta with their right back. Young Will was continually picking passes and making space amongst Stationers defence. After 35mins we finally got the breakthrough we needed after Fraser and Liam had switched wings.
Fraser and Leon outwitted the defence, Leon swung over a cross which Liam dived to head at about six inches of the ground. The arrow like header skimmed towards goal when Jason popped up and diverted the ball home. Within minutes the second came after Ash controlled the ball turned their defender and rifled a shot from 25 yards which went like a bullet into the bottom corner. Five to go and we were well in control. Leon who was now almost playing right wing picked up another ball, weaved past two or three defenders to the byline and pulled back a low cross which Ash met and fired into the far corner. 3-0 at the half and the game was effectively won, but we needed to get Ash more goals.
The Skips and Morruzi came on for Leon and Liam. We needed to pass the ball more and also shoot at every chance as the surface made every shot a possible goal. We started well and had some good ball, and within five minutes the fourth had been added. Morruzi who had not touched the ball received a pass to his chest just in the oppos half, he then took a couple more touches and fired a shot from 30 yards that went over the keeper and into the top corner. An absolute cracker in a season which has seen many great goals. With the weather worsening and the temperature dropping there were concerns that Michael in goal might freeze to death. Stationers continued to give their all and should have got one back from a breakaway but their striker could not quite connect with the cross. Ash nearly got the hat trick when he cut in from the left and fired a drive against the upright. The goal soon turned up after Young Will slipped into the area and drew the push from the defender which won the penalty. Ash stepped up and scored. We continued to dominate play with Fraser shooting from every angle. When Morruzi was urged to back up Fraser the answer was “What’s the point he won’t pass” and to be fair he had a point. With everyone wanting a bit of glory “Gloves” moved into midfield and Will went up front, this meant our centrehalves were Jed and Kurt. I know it’s a scary thought. We saw the game out and finished the season on a high. We enjoyed some Champagne on the side that Will’s dad very kindly brought along and celebrated a great season.
Firstly I must thank Stationers for their efforts on Saturday. They showed real spirit despite the circumstances. Our performance and attitude were excellent. Our desire to get Ash the golden boot showed the spirit within the team and hopefully this can be carried through to greater challenges next season.
Michael in goal has been great all season with many crucial saves and clearances. The defence has been excellent all season as the goals against column shows. This is down to a mixture of Tom, Leon, Ziggy, Fevzi, Morruzi and the rocks at the back Will and “Gloves” Jonsey. Each of them has been committed in every game.
Once again the midfield has seen many personnel in Adam, Max, Jason, Shane, Harry, Liam, Young Will, Ash and of course the heartbeat of the team Jed. But each one has bought into the style, spirit and sheer enjoyment of playing in this team. Up front Malachi was capable of destroying defences practically single handed, as was Ash when he went up front. Fraser has been a revelation in the hole with some sublime passing, crossing and great goals.
Finally the skipper………where do I begin? His desire and passion for this team is immense, he practically lives and breathes it. Anyone who has received one of his epic call to arms texts at some ungodly hour will realise what it means to him. Before this season he worked full time but he has now been made part time because he spends so much of the week making sure that his troops are rested and in the right frame of mind for Saturdays at 3pm. On the pitch he just as thoughtful as he regularly shows an Adebayor like passion for demonstrating how the offside rule works! He has scored plenty of goals and even thinks he knows a bit about defending…..yeah sure. And he saves penalties. To this man we owe our success and I salute him, but we need to buy him a new watch for next season.
Lastly a personal thank you to the team for all your efforts this season, it has been a real pleasure to be involved with such a great bunch of people. I like to think it has been more than just playing football, as the banter and jokes both pre and post match would be worth the membership fee alone. The spirit and camaraderie all season has been exceptional even when down to 10men and 3-0 down. The team, like AP itself is more like an institution, and if you have met many of our players you would probably realise that an institution is where they belong! I hope the match reports have borne some resemblance to the games we have played, and if not you can take it up with my publishers.
Thanks again it has been a privilege.