The UNITS travelled to Station knowing a win would crown them champions. We were without top scorer Seeks, Ben, Greavesy, Ashton and Newt's yet welcomed back Captain Paul Taylor as Cuzer continued with the wing back system as we lined up: Tom, DJ, Gilo, Ryan, PT, Sean, Azza, Baker, Coco, Jay and Lewis. Subs were Chinner, Si, Trigger and Jim.
We know Station can be a hard nut to crack and they were pretty much at full strength tonight having a full quota of 16, they started with a sweeper and were working hard all over the pitch as the UNITS had all the early ball but time and again Station were putting bodies on the line and blocking attempts on goal. Jay had the best early chance when from a fine DJ cross the centre half got under the ball and Jay headed goal wards only for the keeper to make a good save. 10 minutes in we got the opening goal our start had deserved when after some patient build up play through midfield Azza slipped the ball to Lewis just inside the box and despite being under pressure he got a left foot shot off with power which beat the keeper and the retreating defender on the line 1-0.
Station then had a couple of set piece opportunities which we dealt with well, we continued to play some lovely football, utilising the width of the pitch superbly, Gilo and DJ were running riot down the flanks and we got the 2nd goal on 20 minutes and what a goal it was! Again some lovely patient build up play down our left involving Ryan, Gilo and Azza resulted in Coco picking up the ball 25 yards out, he exchanged passes with Lewis before returning the ball to Pountney just inside the Station area and Lewis bent the ball first time past the keeper and into the top corner, world class finish as we went 2-0 up. It really was champagne football with everybody passing and moving at will and it was no surprise when Azza skinned his man down the left and whipped in a vicious cross with pace which Pountney tucked away for a 25 minute hat trick with a sublime finish from 8 yards.
The party has pretty much started now for the UNITS as Station as committed as they were had no answer to our football as wave after wave of attack rained down on their goal, Jay went close, as did DJ and Azza but we got our 4th on 40 minutes with another tremendous finish from Lewis as Baker and Azza combined in midfield and Azza curled a delightful 40 yard ball behind the Station back line and Lewis from out wide volleyed an unstoppable shot across the keeper and into the top corner as we came in at HT 4-0 up.
HT STATION 0 v 4 UNITS
The lads were obviously buzzing at half time such was the level of the performance, highlight of the interval was Pountney reminding everybody he was human by struggling to open a bag of sweets before spilling them all over the grass, genius!. After such a blistering 45 minutes of football we were always going to struggle to maintain the intensity and credit to Station they shuffled things at HT and came out more lively for the 2nd half, Russ up top who is always a handful had a couple of edge of the box efforts which Tom saved well, one of them a fine one handed save destined for the bottom corner. Ryan also cleared off the line as Station had their best opportunity. At the other end we had dropped our levels slightly but we soon got back in the groove when after another swift breakaway Gilo raced into the box and shot goal wards only for the Station defender to block the effort with his hand, not too many complaints as Azza stepped up and coolly slotted the penalty into the bottom corner, 5-0.
On 60 minutes Jim replaced Coco in the middle of the park and Trigger came on up top for Jay. Shortly after it was 6-0 when DJ revelling in his "graveyard shift" role raced clear only to be scythed down by the Station keeper, Azza again took the penalty and again it was clinical into the corner as he bagged his 2nd and our 6th. On 65 minutes Si Hollick replaced Baker in a like for like change. The UNITS were now back in the groove and Azza continued to pull the strings, one run and cross caused havoc in the Station defence and the defender could only divert the cross into his own net with 3 UNITS players waiting to finish off the cross 7-0. Trigger had already gone close when after more good work form Azza Trigger rose to meet Azza's cross with a bullet header which the Station keeper did well to parry away yet Taylor was on hand to side foot home to make it 8-0 It was Trigger again who had a hand in the 9th when he raced clear only to be hacked down in the box and Azza stepped up to complete a hat trick of penalties as the UNITS made it 9-0 with still 10 minutes to go. We couldn't get to double figures though despite having more opportunities to do so and Station got a late conciliation when the UNITS were caught overloading an attack and Station broke and used the man over as he side footed into an empty net.
However the night belonged to the UNITS who had managed to clinch the title and the double in what's been a fantastic season from start to finish, to a man the champions tag is fully deserved and naturally in true UNITS style we made a night of it.
Man of the match could again have gone to so many but with a hat-trick and four assists Azza just gets the nod from Lewis who himself was in sensational form.
We finish our season on Sunday against Dudley Sports at Chainwire, with nothing on the game we'll put some names in the hat and enjoy our season swansong.