The night before was the clubs award night - which meant a late night, and even worse, we had to set off from leamington at 6.30 am to get down Merthyr Football Club for 9.30 for registration. With the alarm kicking off at 5.30 - there was enough time for a shower, pack a few things, then Pete and Vince rang to say they'd arrived at my place. The club had kindly lent us a set of strips from a couple of years ago, and also given us access to a mini bus (and a fuel card) meaning we didnt have to folk out for transport or fuel - making it a cheap day.
We also had a couple of the players lined up to play for us, Adam Knight, and Ben Mackey (of ex Premiership Coventry fame). Sadly Ben ended up in hospital with an eye injury, and Adam was running late - having extended their award night down to the local club, and not getting in til gone 4am. Adam eventually turned up at 11.15 - fair play to the lad for finding the place in the middle of nowhere.
The Squad ...myself and Knighty - seperated at birth.
Our first game was against Peacocks Distribution Centre which we played without Mr Knight, and managing a 0-0 draw, considering only 3 of us play football on a regular basis, we dont pretty well, with myself playing up front as a lone striker / holding the ball up for support. Pete and Vince played in defence and managed to stop anyone getting pretty close to taking a shot and protecting JJ who ended up in goal of all places. The compo meant that the two 2 from the two divisions went thru to the semi finals - and we had to get points on the board. The 2nd game was against Gloucester City and we managed to score two goals (well Knighty did) showing what a player can really do - however we also conceded goals straight after scoring - taking the final score to 2-2. We needed to win the last game to get any chance of progressing to the semi-finals. We did that by beating MTFSTC 1-0 in the final group game - myself having about 5 or 6 shots saved by the keeper alone, however, Knighty was there to save our blushes by scoring.
We played the Strikers Bar Team in the semi finals, who were near enough favs to win the compo, and with the score 0-0 after 15 minutes, it went to extra time with golden goal. They kept coming at us, however once again, a one-two with myself, Knighty fired a fast high ball that any keeper would have struggled to keep out. The opposition team were mortified that we had beaten them, so much so, their keeper was in tears on the floor for 5 minutes.
Here it was, Leamington FC Fans getting into the final - and a chance to take the cup out of Wales for the first time. We kept the team shape the same, we kept the same players on, starting with most of the strongest people on the pitch. This time, it was 10 minutes each way, going straight into pens if it was a draw. We were up against Newport County, the winners of the cup last season and we had enough chances, as did they, but disaster hit 2 minutes from full time, when they scored. We had a couple of chances once again, but they were saved and sadly Leamington FC Fans came back empty handed but doing themselves proud once again.
After a shower, we headed to Merthyr's ground, had some food, had some beer, watched the FA Cup Final then headed back up the country to Leamingtonshire. Another bonus, was Knighty leaving us all his champers that he had won in Friday Night's raffle - so we cunningly sank all of that before we even got back to the English Border. A fantastic day, or should I say Ace day - hopefully we'll go one further next season. We all got back to Leamington, noticing that although it wasnt a partcularly sunny day, that everyone was sunburnt.
Sign in Merthyr : Stop - Hammer Time!