Devine brace inspires under 14’s in play-off thriller
Hipperholme & Lightcliffe Sports College, 3 – St Bede’s, 4
Last Wednesday the year 9 football team travelled to Hipperholme & Lightcliffe for a West Yorkshire Cup play-off to decide who would go through to face Boston Spa in the final at Ossett Albion AFC. In effect, this was a semi-final replay, having drawn 0-0 on home soil with the same opponents in their last group game before Easter. Coincidentally, after five group matches, these two evenly-matched teams had the same number of points, each boasting an impressive record of ‘won 4, drawn 1’. Not surprisingly, given previous results, this sudden-death encounter proved to be another enthralling, nail-biting and tight affair, with neither side giving an inch or backing down.
The game kicked off in appalling conditions, which were to continue for the majority of the 60-plus minutes but in no way did the weather compromise the endeavour and quality on view. Somewhat against the run of play, it was the hosts who opened the scoring after quarter of an hour with a fantastic surge from midfield, accompanied by an even better finish in to the top corner from an acute angle. It left Kyle Trenery, playing a year above his age group in place of the unavailable Glenn Cockitt, a mere spectator. In typical fashion, Bede’s bounced straight back with a simply stunning goal of their own, courtesy of the inspirational Danny Devine. Letting fly from fully 25 yards, Devine’s perfectly struck rasping drive whistled in to the back of the net. Indeed, such was the power, accuracy and trajectory of the strike, the ball would have still flown in had the goal been a further 15 yards back!
The visitors were now full of confidence and playing some really attractive football on the ‘3G’ pitch with Omolokun bossing the midfield, ably supported by skipper Barker, Devine and Cissa- playing wide on the right- with Parker taking over his responsibilities up front. H & L were absorbing lots of pressure but still looked very dangerous on the counter-attack and Bede’s defence had to be constantly alert. Trenery, however, was looking assured and authoritative in spite of his tender years. At half-time the game was evenly poised at one apiece with the outcome very much hanging in the balance.
Any anxiety regarding the destiny of the match was soon dispelled, however, when Mr Snape’s troops really took the game by the scruff of the neck at the start of the second half. Five minutes after the restart, the hard-working Dominik Wasowski raced onto a through ball and bravely nicked the ball past the onrushing keeper, before taking a clattering for his efforts. Soon after, the lead was doubled when Chris Parker turned inside the box and slotted the ball home, putting Bede’s into a seemingly unassailable 3-1 lead. The ‘gaffer’ should have known better, however, and realised that H & L were not about to roll over and die and, following a flowing move, the margin was reduced to a solitary goal. When a free-kick was awarded just outside the penalty area, alarm bells were ringing but the Bede’s wall did its job and stood firm…or did it? According to the referee, the players in the wall had encroached and the free-kick was ordered to be retaken. This time, the ball beat the wall but there seemed little danger as the ball looked to be heading straight down Trenery’s throat. Unfortunately for the keeper and dispiritingly for Bede’s the greasy ball slipped between his hands and dropped agonisingly over the line to level the scores at 3-3.
Back where we started and with only minutes remaining, Bede’s showed the determination and strength of character that has been a hallmark of their season. A free-kick in an identical position on the edge of their opponent’s box was lined up by (who else) the irrepressible Devine. Requiring no second invitation, he curled a brilliant effort around the wall and into the top right-hand corner with the keeper motionless. This time Bede’s were not to be denied and, despite a tremendous last siege by H & L who forced a succession of dangerous and heart-stopping corners, the lads held on grimly for a wonderful and thoroughly deserved victory.
Regardless of the outcome of the final, it has undoubtedly been a memorable season. Winning some silverware against Boston Spa, however, would present the squad with some tangible reward for their sterling efforts throughout the year. Being crowned ‘2012 West Yorkshire Champions’ has a lovely ring to it and would certainly put the icing on the cake…best of luck fellas!