After recent results and more importantly performances, The Revs were in high spirit and looking forward to the final game of the season and a true test of how far they have come. Previous encounters in league and cup had not gone well against FC City of Bradford so it was time to give them a shock.
That early anticipation quickly turned to dread as the day before, and even on the day, players dropped like flies! The solid starting 6 was decimated and panic stations set in. No Allen, Steane, Tyman or Myers meant P. Pinkstone went in goal, against his will, L. Evans started his first game of the season at the back and old man Tomkinson was drafted in.
Suddenly hope had turned to anguish, but as Hartrick wisely said before the game we can only do what we can do.
And he was right! From kick off The Revs ploughed forward taking the opposition by surprise and had some good chances, but not testing the keeper enough. P. Pinkstone had his first test early on too and a few rushes of blood to the head actually paid off as he intercepted the ball and even took it to the half way line at one point. The lads, against all odds, were going for it!
And this reaped rewards as Beardall, who had his swagger back, was pinging balls into the danger area at ease and really utilising the space he was finding himself in. A sweeping attack saw J. Evans swing the ball out wide to Beardall, who whipped in a perfectly weighted ball for Hartrick to finish with aplomb into the far corner to register his 13th goal of the season.
How dare The Revs take the lead against superior opposition!
It is fair to say the opposition had the lion’s share of the ball and wave after wave they came at the defence, but the aging Tomkinson rolled back the years to be a real thorn in their side, L. Evans barged his way through defences and D. Pinkstone played his best all round game since returning to the side. J. Evans marshalled his troops at the back and this meant on a lot of occasions the opposition resorted to long range efforts that P. Pinkstone dealt with magnificently.
However, the one weakness to P. Pinkstone this night was his inability to kick the ball and actually clear the danger zone, leading to The Revs on the back foot often. Eventually FC cottoned on and packed The Revs half leading to an attack which as well as P. Pinkstone did, saw their opening goal with a delicate chip, but not before P. Pinkstone had taken on the attacker, leaving him in a heap.
The opposition had a large period of sustained pressure after that goal where The Revs just blocked, tackled and scrambled giving away kick ins and corners and eventually the pressure told when a corner came in and was stopped by L. Evans but instead of clearing, thinking he had more time, their attacker nipped in and poked it into goal.
2-1 down with 5 minutes of the first half to go but heads never dropped. Quite the opposite in fact as The Revs felt they could get something from this.
A sustained period of pressure ensued from The Revs now with L. Evans pushed further forward, his rampaging runs and strength allowed for more space for Beardall to work his magic. Again producing some sublime through balls and defence splitters for Hartrick and J. Evans to take advantage of but not finish. The goal that finally came was from an unexpected source that got The Revs back on level terms.
Once again a superb ball in from Beardall found D. Pinkstone at the back post to bullet a header past the keeper and make it 2-2 just before half time!
A rejuvenated Revs pushed on in the second half, with further chances for both Evans boys as well as Hartrick, who held the ball up went and played in team mates running off his shoulder on several occasions. The opposition scrambling defence now had to work hard at it.
It really swung both ways in the second half and the opposition, with time running out, really pushed forward. Tomkinson having a few scraps in the middle of the park, J. Evans throwing his body at everything and plenty of hoofing that ball up the pitch or out of touch by everyone involved!
D. Pinkstone collected the ball out wide but his first touch took the ball above head height but recovered with a header but the opposition went in dangerously high, ripping D. Pinkstone’s shirt on the shoulder and leaving a nice stud impression to go with it. The free kick was given and the opposition were starting to lose it.
With less than a minute to go J. Evans found himself in space and put the ball into Hartrick upfront, who held off his man and created some space only to see his curling effort go agonisingly wide. The opposition had one final attack in them too but P. Pinkstone saved to give a corner with 8 seconds remaining. In came the corner which was intercepted by J. Evans who hoofed the ball into touch giving the opposition no further time and the whistle went on a hard fought draw against the 3rd best team in the league.
A morale victory, a work horse performance from all against the odds and a fitting way to end the season. Well done to all involved, not just tonight, but across the whole season. Everyone should be proud of where we have come.
Roll on next season!