Undefeated Footballers Strike Again
Downside 1st XI 1 Sherborne 1st XI 0
It was good of Sherborne to offer us an extra unplanned game, a challenge, and indeed worthy opposition, at the very end of our unbeaten season; a unanimous decision by the members of the Downside 1st XI to take them on after much discussion, showed their mettle.
Thus it was with both apprehension and excitement that the game commenced. In fact it was the Sherborne team who displayed more nerves at the beginning, and they were punished for this 10 minutes into the match when Luke Carrigan was put through to score one of his trademark goals displaying pace and strength past two defenders. The carnival atmosphere among the growing crowd, full of noise and cheering, reached fever pitch as the unthinkable suddenly became the possible, and the possible began to seem likely.
The rest of the game was a tight nerve shredding match, in which Downside had several chances even before half time pushing up the sloping pitch, to put the match to bed. It could have been 4-0 by that point, but we could not find the goal, although another Carrigan effort hit the bar, a header by Tom Walters went wide, Fred Hu failed to find a scoring touch and Harry Ross had a chance blocked.
In the second half, Sherborne steadied themselves and the game became a war of attrition, Downside finding themselves defending and then breaking to attack, with some fresh legs in the form of Will Brand Lyons and Ben Brace, making his debut and both having good chances on the right and left respectively. It should be said however that the back four of Roy Ssozi, George Thackray, Georgii Katunin and Matt Walters kept them out for the most part along with Marc Ortiz making one very fine save; and the utterly astonishing work rate of Ignatius Cottrell, playing a lion of a game, Tom Walters and George Thackray winning most balls in the air, and Percy Graham fighting hard for every tackle, proved in the end too strong for the Sherborne attack, blunting them all the way to the finish line. It was becoming scrappy, it was becoming a little desperate, but Downside hung on. And when the final whistle blew, what a pitch invasion there was. If anybody thought football was the Cinderella sport, the last became the first, here, today. It may never happen again; but this was indeed history in the making.
Match report by Mr Hugh Walters.