by Dave Mackenzie, Reserves Manager
The long and winding road unfortunately containing a couple too many potholes started back at South Normanton on one of the better playing surfaces which would prove to suit our technical players.
There were 32 games resulting in 23 wins 4 draws and 5 reversals. During which, 116 goals were scored and 34 let in. Strangely enough, it would be not scoring in two games that would prove to be the difference. Zero Zoro’s against Linby at home and Blidworth away would have redressed the 4 point lead that Blidworth ended with. Apart from not scoring the common denominator in both games was everyone’s favourite official. Against Blidworth he allowed persistent fouling of Kia Moore and started giving fouls against Kai when was getting hit from behind. Against Linby he was kind enough to give us a yellow card after 7 seconds and just to be consistent the second followed minutes later. Whilst he didn’t miss the chances we created he did come away with the refereeing comment of this and every other season that I have been involved with.
It’s a corner, I can tell by your body language!
Having mentioned the effect referee’s can have on a game probably the worst ever decision occurred in my last full game for the club – 22/2/2018. Will Norcross having rounded the keeper was rolling the ball into an empty net when he was clattered into by a defender. The ball had just crossed the goal one and would have put us 2 up. The ref pulled it back and gave a penalty and didn’t even send off the offender. Jermaine Palmer hit the post and we then went on to lose the game. We lost the league that year by 2 points!
Back to this year and we should really take the positives with 7 players making it into the first team at various times during the season. This was down in no small part to John McGrath and the rest of his team but also the players in the first team that made the step up less arduous.
5 weeks ago the game v Pinxton looked like it would be a title decider but they had 3 points deducted and like us lost players through injury at vital times in the run-up.
The game itself was a toughie with the teams going in level at halftime without a great deal of chances created at either end. We still had to secure 2nd place so the team went out in the second half with more determination and started at a higher tempo. This was to prove beneficial early in the half when George Atwall finished with a lovely left-foot strike after Pinxton had blocked a couple of earlier efforts The introduction of Ben Horleston at the break gave us more tempo and he scored an excellent goal with a bending strike from just outside the box. Even at 2 -0, we couldn’t relax and Pinxton got their rewards with a goal that would have surely been chopped off for a foul on Tom Smith, returning from his sabbatical with Vics.
The scoring was finished off by a typical Fin Barker goal adding to his 26 in the season.
At that point the game was pretty much done and dusted but you wouldn’t have known as the Gaffer worked tirelessly closing people down and winning us more ball thus ensuring the 3 points and a deserved second place in the league.
Team: Tom Smith, Lopes Massampo, Ethan Mann,Will Robinson, Ben Lewin, John McGrath, George Atwal, Tom Braer, Jude Ayetine, Kia Moore and Fin Barker. Subs used Devon Smith and Ben Horleston. Unused – Cam Anthony.
Thanks have to be given to all the players throughout the season. To Fran for cooking the books and cooking the chips plus a massive thanks to Aaron Hayer for his organising, his enthusiasm and for topping up the coffers of the Derbyshire FA.