LBG Strollers travelled to Redhall Park to take on Redhall Star in the final game of the season, its been a successful season for the Strollers improving massively from last year and securing 3rd place in the league before this game. Redhall however needed the 3 points to ensure that the league title remained in their own hands and they would just need to beat Melville Rovers to clinch the league.
Strollers started brightly and created the first half chance of the match, Gaunt firing over the bar from distance. Redhall then began to create some chances and put pressure on the Strollers defence with a series of corners, the Strollers back 4 was performing tremendously to deal with the pressure though and the closest they came was when the Redhall striker headed wide from point blank range.
Strollers were looking relatively comfortable at this point and from one of their rare attacks in the first half, Burden laid off for Wallace, Wallace hit a terrific strike from the edge of the box that the keeper done well to parry wide for a corner. From the resultant corner there was a bit of a scuffle in the box which led to a yellow card for the Redhall keeper.
Shortly after this Redhall took the lead with a terrific strike. Strollers switched off from a throw in and the striker found himself a yard off space in the box and curled a wonderful strike past the despairing Allan. It was tough to take for the Strollers side and in particular Thomson who was outstanding throughout the match but it showed that switching off for just a second is all it needs sometimes.
The sides went in at half-time with Redhall leading 1-0.
Campbell told his Strollers side that this game was still there for the taking and the Strollers headed back out knowing if they could get the leveller then the home side would begin arguing and perhaps lose their discipline.
The 2nd half was relatively uneventful with not a lot of chances created, Clement headed over from close range after good play out wide by Mcpherson.
Clement was not to be denied though and grabbed his 19th goal of a wonderful season to bring the sides level although in truth this one was a complete fluke. A nice one-two with Hentges saw Clement pick up the ball out wide, he looked up and spotted the run of Gaunt in the middle and aimed a cross at him, however the ball sailed straight over the keeper into the top corner.
The Redhall side looked shellshocked at this setback and rang the changes to try and get the winner that would keep them in the title race.
They created very little but controversy was to follow as Langstaff tangled legs with the opposition player in the Strollers box and the referee couldnt have pointed to the spot quicker. The Redhall player sent Allan the wrong way from the spot to give his side the lead and possibly the title.
There was still time for the Strollers to create one last chance, a nice flick through from Gaunt found Clement who was one on one with the keeper but slid the ball wide of the post.
The final whistle went and the Strollers ended the season with defeat despite a good battling performance.
It has been a good season for the Strollers and a massive part of that must go down to manager Campbell who came in when the club was beginning to look shambolic on the park, he steadied things and improved the squad which led to a 3rd place finish and something to build on.
A few of the boys also deserve a mention
- Ross Allan came in as the goalkeeper and had a fantastic season, earning the club lots of points with some crucial saves
- Dean Thomson moved position to centre half and put in a few Man of the Match performances
- Ross Mcpherson who performed consistently throughout the season and workrate is something i could learn from
- Graeme Clement who lost an obscene amount of weight, went from obese to slim and banged in 19 goals to easily be the top scorer
- Matt Gaunt whose first season at amateur football went well and scored a few stunning goals
- Dave Hitchen who became the soundest Englishman in the team and also the best English winger in the team
Many others have also had good seasons and there is a lot to look forward to next season, aswell as the vets game in June.