Game 1 – 29th September
The eagerly anticipated Stonbury Annual (North vs South) Football match commenced this year, with the first leg kicking off in the North.
Warm ups got underway and it was clear the South team had a larger squad, which did assist as the game went on, not to mention the younger and fresher legs! Game 1 was eagerly anticipated and fiercely fought as expected, once underway there was a few hefty tackles, bit of verbal sledging and the odd niggles between teams/players, which in truth made the game much more competitive and enjoyable for all. Both teams started brightly with good some composure and passing.
As the first half went on, the South team managed to get the upper hand and take a 1-0 lead thanks to Mr Frew (who graciously came out of retirement for this game… but has since then returned) in his own words, it was “game set and match”. Other chances came and went, with some good saves from Buddha in the North goal who kept it at 1-0 for a while, until the South team scored again. With the scores at 2-0, the North team battled back well and forced a few half chances and eventually pulled a goal back with a long ranged effort from Mr Harrison, the ball bouncing over the fingertips of Joe in goal and bouncing in for that winning goal... GAME ON…. the score remained 2-1 until half time, with a much needed drink and rest break.
After quick team talks and some re-shuffles, the second half got underway, fast and furious to gain the upper hand. Suitably so, as the South strike first for 3-1! As the game went on and legs began to tire, the South team pressed on bringing in their substitute players to the North teams’ disadvantage, who only had a squad of 12 for the night. The game went on and the North kept battling away and managed to pull one back 4-2. The South re-asserted the pressure and in the last 10 minutes created numerous chances, taking a further 2 to extend the lead – one a free kick from Jake Taylor and the last an individual goal from Callum McCormack, which could he, or should he have squared to James Stonor to take the glory...?
Good game from both teams and enjoyed by all including the supporters, who I believe where both shocked and impressed by what they saw! Only half time as they say in a two-legged affair.
Game 2 – 20th October
After a month to recover and a little bit of gloating from the South, the second match was upon us and we played under the lights at the Cranfield United grounds. Due to the occasion and with pride at stake, a professional referee was called upon to officiate and keep us all in check (or at least attempt to), a huge thank you to Adam Crysell for taking part.
With a few injuries and unavailability’s, the South had a couple of enforced changes, but still had good numbers in the squad. The North team was at full strength and ready to claw back the deficit.
Warms up done, banter had and teams all set and ready to play, the game got underway with the North team starting on the front foot, trying to get an early goal in the game. The play starts end to end with both teams giving it their all, making for a much more competitive game! Andy Kennedy, North team, runs through but is checked by myself (Paul Dart) giving a free kick away and a yellow card for my efforts. The first goal came and some goal it was, with a long-range effort sailing in from the underside of the bar, 1-0 to the South!
The lead didn’t last long as a kick from the South defense went straight to the North, making it an even 1-1. Chances came and went for both teams and challenges galore all over the park, both teams desperate to win. Another breakaway goal from the South took us to half time with the score 2-1. Breaks well earned and much needed.
After bringing some fresh legs onto the pitch, the South strike again with another long ranged effort from Matt Waldock, 3-1. The North team battled away, forcing Lee Smith in the South goal into an unorthodox save from the corner, resulting in an amazing save and scores remained the same. As the game draws to an end, a breakaway chance came along and a tired last ditch tackle from Mr Johnstone, North team, slightly mistimed resulted in penalty, putting South team in the lead 4-1.
In the last few minutes of the match, two mini Stonbury mascots were brought onto the pitch for a run around, bringing the Annual games to a civil end.
Final score on the night 4-1 to the South and 10-3 over both matches.
CHAMPIONS - SOUTH
Huge thanks to everyone involved in organising, playing and supporting.