So cup final day came and seemingly completely passed us by.
In front of a paying crowd of around 40 people, we took on Stoke by Clare in the final of the cup, having faced possibly the easiest route to the game, beating Five Bells, 8-man Bay Horse and getting a bye in the semis.
Unfortunately, we were second best throughout the game and just couldn’t get a foothold into the game. Our biggest weakness is consistently our lack of height, we lose almost every header and were second to many knock-downs. At 0-0 we were in the game though and even had the best chance to go ahead, fluffing our lines front of goal.
I was forced to make a couple of good saves, turning one long-range effort round the post and tipping a header over the bar from a corner.
Before the break though, we were 1-0 down. A poor goal kick from me (something that was annoyingly a theme for me on the day) fell to an opposition player in the middle of the park. He played a ball over the top to their striker, who was outnumbered two to one to the right of my goal. Inexplicably, he wriggled his way past both defenders and curled a short round me into the far post.
At 1-0 down going into half time we still had every chance, but didn’t have any more joy in the second period. Stoke were definitely on top, but we still had hope – that was until around the 80th minute when they doubled their lead.
Again a ball over the top was missed by the defence and ended up with their attacker to the left of my goal. A low ball to the front post was flicked across the goal by their striker to an unmarked man at the back post, who finished the easiest of chances.
With a couple of minutes left, as we pushed to try and get one back, they made it 3-0. I was annoyed with this one, as I flapped at a corner, only managing to punch it to the edge of my box. A Stoke player was waiting and hit a half volley low into the corner.
In many ways 3-0 flattered them. 1-0 or 2-0 would’ve been a better reflection of the game, but we were second best. I wasn’t best pleased with my performance which started well with two good saves and strong kicking, but soon went downhill as the game progressed. I wouldn’t say I had a bad game, just average, as were the majority of the team on the day.
That’s the end of our season now and I don’t yet know if there will be another one. Unfortunately, our manager is having to leave and I do worry that this will cause the squad to break up. I’ve come to really like the guys on my team and don’t know if I can be bothered getting to know a whole new team again, not just as people but as footballers.
I really hope we can carry on, I’m enjoying my football again and it would be good to get back out there come September.