Real Rosehill went into their last game of the season knowing that only a win against a quality Pink Flamingos side would give them the title of Sussex Sunday Football League Division 3 Winners.
Rosehill took along their strongest squad of players for the game, excluding Thommo who was away. Rosehill named 15 players for the game including Chris Beck who had to pull out of the game suffering from a bug he picked up the night before.
The game was played at Hurstpierpoint Football Club on a hot morning on a bobbly, dry pitch.
Rosehill knew that the young Flamingos team would come at them from the start so they adopted a formation of 4-2-3-1.
Right from the off Flamingos came at Rosehill and they opened the scoring on 10 minutes from a clinical strike by Tom Deveson from Flamingos following a fluky defensive mix up which saw The Pinks go 1 up.
Flamingos continued to press and on 18 minutes scored again following another defensive mistake and Rosehill were 2 down. The Dean Valley Mens supporters were obviously very happy with the score as unless Rosehill won the title was theirs.
Rosehill did have their chances at the other end but could not convert their chances until the 31st minute when Josh Rathbone scored from a team move. Josh has scored some important goals this season including the winners against Palmeira Hussars and Hove Lawns.
Rosehill went into the break 2-1 down but had played well considering that they had gone 2 goals down. The Rosehill management team of Tony and Gary knew from the players faces that they did not need motivating to go out the second half and win the game. Things were kept the same and the players were told that we had 3 substitutes and that they needed to run themselves into the ground for their mates.
The second half started brightly for Rosehill with Charlie Walker scoring a screamer from 30 yards, dipping at the last moment to beat James Shaw in the Flamingos goal. Rosehill continued to dominate possession and on 59 minutes Luke “Poults” Poulton finished off a great team move for Rosehill to take the lead. Players and supporters ran onto the pitch and celebrated.
Now there was time for a change and substitutions to be made. With a quality bench of Shrubby and Drew who can run and run and have skill and a strong physical Mark Newman to come on as well Tony and Gary decided that now was the time if Rosehill were going to win the game.
Newman replaced Ross who had a great game but had just been booked, Shrubby replaced Ben “Stozzer” Stonham who covered every inch of the pitch and Drew who replaced Gaz Anderson who was at his best as he has been all season.
Rosehill reverted to their 3-5-2-1 formation for the last 30 minutes and that reaped dividends against the tiring Flamingos team and plenty of chances were made.
Rosehill had a number of chances before Charlie following a Poults assist sealed the victory on 65 minutes and scored the goal that would mean Rosehill had 25 minutes to play and not concede more than one goal in that time to be champions.
Rosehill hit the post twice and Sam Derkson hit the bar from distance with the keeper beaten.
By this time the Dean valley contingent had already left to go back to Brighton crying in their cars as to what could have been J
Flamingos never looked like scoring in the last 30 apart from a couple of free kicks on the edge of the box following fouls by Rosehill defenders.
The quality of football was amazing with the normal Rosehill pass, pass, pass and run style of football and everyone was giving 100%.
On 85 minutes Charlie completed his hat trick with an assist from Drew to give a scoreline of 5-2 to Rosehill.
On the final whistle the celebrations were more than major with all the Rosehill players, supporters and management joining in the celebrations and the victory over a good side that ensured them the title of CHAMPIONS SSFL Division 3 and giving them their 3rd consecutive promotion and second title in 3 years.
Sparkling wine and lots of it was sprayed over everyone who was celebrating with the majority of it going over Manager, Tony Woods, who knew it was coming after not doing the choad dance to everyone’s satisfaction today.
The defence today was strong and firm with Max having a great mature game for an 18 year old. Ross and Brad in the middle were strong and immense and Josh “The Joker” Rathbone at left back covered the flanks up and back and must have run as far as a half marathon!
Just in front of the back four Gary and Sam were physical presences with not much getting past them on the ground or in the air.
The midfield of Ben, Damon and Poults were superb and played well together linking up with Charlie Walker and the defensive midfield pairing of Sam and Gary. All five including Damon ran and ran and must have found it so hard playing on the hard pitch and in temperatures of 72 F.
Well what can we say about the Man of the Match? Charlie Walker who was like a Barca forward on the day chasing down the Flamingos defence at every opportunity and made it very difficult for them. His 3 goals were class but it was all down to team effort and a never say die attitude.
Sam who has been fill in captain this year for the suspended and injured Mark Newman kept the lads going and Josh was his usual self, winding players up from start to finish.
We are more than just a football team and are all friends and all look out for each other. This was clearly shown when with 15 minutes left Sam gave Mark the captains armband, what a great gesutre as this was possibly Marks last ever game of football as he is having a major ankle operation in June.
The tactical substitutions brought great results and I for one would not want Shrubby or Drew running at me with their pace in skill after playing for 60 minutes in those tough conditions. Newman well was strong at centre back and did not put a foot wrong.
Damon’s dad took many photographs which will be going up on Facebook very soon and there are some quality celebration pictures.
In the changing rooms Tony had one surprise left which was pre arranged by the lads and he was soaked once again with a whole bottle of the fizzy alcoholic celebratory stuff. Renditions of “Woodsy is a Wanker” could be heard coming from the changing rooms and could be heard as far as Lewes, great fun and the choir was even better than the fat geezer in the “Go Compare” adverts.
This was a truly quality display and we saved our best for the last game of the season. The play, passing and finishing was even better than the 9-0 win we had against The Roundhill. We have learnt not to chase the game when we have in the past and we just continued to play our normal game with a positive attitude.
Thanks to all the Flamingos team who gave us a good hard game and are a great bunch of lads, Mike Williamson as usual gave us some problems and he deserved to be their man of the match.
My thanks to all the supporters who came to the game. Chris and Debbie who have been ever present all season, Debbie, Bens mum and his 2 brothers, Damon’s dad, Ian Dean the referee, Kai and Mole, Joe Howard who came all the way from Bath to see us win, Luke Poults aunties, and of course Chris Beck :) I have received loads of texts and phone calls and Facebook messages from other team’s players, managers and coaches and referees congratulating us on a great victory and winning the league. We all know we were the best footballing side in the league and Dean Valley probably now agree but would never admit it.
A big thanks to all the squad players this season who have been immense, Thommo has been superb all season even if like me he is the wrong side of 20 and Chris Beck has been a rock in defence all season, if only he signed earlier! Charlie Tomsett before he went off to join the Paras was formidable for a lad his age playing in the centre of defence. Thanks also to Sharpy, Lewis, Jamie Kuxhaus, Russell who deputised when Adam was injured, Sam Bean, Marky and the players who we have called on throughout the season. A big thanks also to Justin Gregory, our club physio and ex pro footballer who tended our broken limbs and players injuries this season.
I never knew how much it meant to you all to be a part of Rosehill and you certainly showed it yesterday. To come back from 2 down to win 5-2 was incredible. It is only after seeing all the text messages, calls and FB posts that I now know how much yesterday and the season has meant to you all. The atmosphere, joviality and banter after the final whistle is one that I will remember for a long time or at least until the next time :)
A major thank you to the best coach in Sussex, Gary Derkson who has been brilliant with his support, tactical prowess and knowledge of the game and development of good players in making them believe in their ability. I know that without Gary we could have been a meagre also ran team and would certainly not have become Champions. It is certainly a Clough and Taylor partnership with Gaz being the laid back Peter Taylor and Tony being the Brian Clough of the side albeit a bit of a nutter and joker!
Next season is looking very promising and am hoping for division 1 next season and then promotion to the Premiership and then County. Gary and I have had this as our plan from day 1 and we are halfway there, with your ability, dedication, and commitment and being all mates we can achieve this. I am meeting the decision makers of the league in the next week or so and will have some feedback from them on what league we will be in next season.
I am finalising a date for the paintballing for which I have already purchased 24 tickets and I am looking to confirm a date for the end of season party which at present is looking at the end of June, depending on holidays and Newman’s operation.
We have a number of tournaments in the close season, more details to follow and once I know what league we will be in I will be arranging some quality friendlies including one with the Shoreham FC first team at the County Ground which I am already in discussions about and hopefully Pink Flamingos and what about Dean Valley?
We will be entering two teams in the Summer Season of Pitch Invasion at Brighton Uni once again and after our success in the last 2 years will be going for a third Premiership win this year.
Thanks to each and everyone of you for making me feel proud and elated. You have made all the hard work, expense and late evenings washing muddy kits and doing reports so worthwhile.
In all Rosehill this season have played 25 games, won 19, drawn 5 and lost 1, scoring 125 goals and conceding 35, truly remarkable. in the last 3 seasons we have played 50 league games and have only lost 6, amazing but we are a newish line up this season and we have got lots to prove next season.
BRING ON NEXT SEASON!
All the best Tony