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New Life complete League and Cup double

  • 23/05/10
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Needing a win to secure the 1st Division title, New Life beat UCF 3-2 to complete the League and Cup double

In a "winner takes all" final game of the season against UCF, the 1st XI got the victory they needed to retain the 1st Division title for the third year in a row and complete the League and Cup double for the first time in the club's 15 year history.

On a very hot day, the game was played at a slow pace with occasional bursts of speed and skill. It was one such moment after about 20 minutes that saw Sam Knowles slide an inch perfect through ball to Sammy Dieng who finished brilliantly with a shot into the far corner of the net.

Unfortunately the lead lasted only a couple of minutes when a UCF long throw was not cleared and the ball fell to a UCF player who slashed it in from about two yards.

However, it took only a matter of minutes before the 1sts took the lead again. The ball was knocked forward to Rubin who would normally have held the ball up waiting for support, but inexplicably UCF's keeper started to come for the ball which was still well outside the area. Rubin saw the keeper off his line and calmly lobbed him from about 40 yards out.

When we first arrived for the game, the pitch had not been marked out and manager Richard Howes did a great job of marking most of the lines - except one side line, which was not as accurate as it might have been due to Richard making a second attempt. Unfortunately, Elliott was confused by this and played on, after the whistle had blown, to put the ball in the net. This lead to an altercation with UCF's keeper and Elliott being rather harshly booked.

Half time saw a tactical change with Tony Slade coming on for Andy Dutton and Chris James switching to right back from his holding midfield position. Ben Uzun in goal had very little to do and New Life always looked dangerous on the break with the pace of Rubin and Sammy causing UCF all sorts of problems. One such break saw Curtis hit a post, and the next break resulted in the game's key moment. The UCF centre half was beaten by a bouncing ball, and Rubin was onto the loose ball very quickly. His pace took him away from the chasing centre half who tripped Rubin from behind. The centre half was the last defender and a red card was the inevitable outcome. From the resultant free kick from just outside the penalty area, Adam Ash curled an excellent shot into the top corner of the net.

Now 3 -1 up and against ten men, New Life started to play out the final 20 mintues with calm possession football which lead to further chances and the post being hit again. However, during a rare break, UCF forced a corner and from the resultant set piece scrambled the ball over the line to create a nervous end to the game.

But the 1sts held out for the final ten minutes to record a deserved victory, which was sufficient for them to win the league championship on goal difference.

League and UCF secretary Keith Bolton graciously presented the winners trophy to captain Jon Bryars to close off a long and very closely fought season. As Keith so correctly put it, rarely has a season been decided by a single goal, but if UCF had scored an equaliser in the final moments, the champion's crown would have been their's and not New Life's. Well done UCF for coming so close. We look forward to facing you again next season.