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Thats it, we done all we can do. The Lions last game of the season away to South Darenth, a ground in the middle of nowhere on a cold and overcast morning.
The league title still with in our grasp but dependant on the Lions winning and one other result going our way. A win for the Lions and a win for Hayden would have handed the Lions the title.
The Lions did their part in a match in which we again should have scored 10 goals. The Lions went behind to an early South Darenth goal, but the Lions eventually going 2-1 up at the half and having a goal dissallowed for apparently not crossing the line. I felt like John McEnroe screaming at the ref that the ball was in, but the ref refused to give the goal!
2nd half and the Lions carried on from where they left off in the 1st scoring another 2 goals and gifting South Darenth an own goal making the end result South Darenth 2 v Long Lane Lions 4.
At this point all is out of our hands, I stand on the touch line with my phone in hand waiting for Hayden to text me their score. The phone rings and my heart dropped, Hayden 3 Halls 4, Halls apparently scoring in the last minute of the game.
I tried to give my end of game match talk and I have 9 players staring at me wanting to know the score of the Hayden game. I tried to give my team talk but its honestly falling on deaf ears! I had to give in to the team and deliver the news that Hayden lost 3-4.
To my surprise they have already done the maths and worked out that Sutcliffe Rangers could beat Halls and it comes down to goal difference. I was expecting sad faces from them all, but no, they were not downhearted but full of optimism and said that it all adds to the excitement!
Now it's time to present the man of the match award and to choose one in the last game of the season was hard. I look at my team and each one has excitement in his eyes and at this point I can feel tears building up in my eyes as my team have given everything to me this season and I know they could not have given any more. I could not decide on one player so had to award the man of the match to the whole team, it's been a hard season with ups and downs all the way through. Matches played that I think were truly marvellous displays of football.
A team of 9 year olds playing with so much heart and passion and entertaining all the parents this season. Considering this time last year we were getting beaten by every one (and convincingly!) this season in the league we have won 13, drawn 1 and lost 4, but unlike last year we have never been beaten by more than 2 goals whoever we played from whichever league.
Bexley A league leaders, Crayford Arrows, paid us a huge compliment when we played them in the Bexley Cup, saying that we gave them the hardest game of football all season.
After 18 games this season Long Lane under 9 Lions sit proudly at the top of the table on 40 points.
Closely followed by Halls AFC on 39 points, but Halls still have a game in hand to play. The result of that game will decide the league winners and a loss for Halls will hand the Lions the title. A draw means it all comes down to goal difference and a win for Halls hands them the title.
I said at the start of the season that any team could win this league and it now comes down to 2 teams. What ever happens and where ever we eventually finish in the league being first or second my team have won promotion to the Bexley A league and deserve their chance to play in the A league. They have built a great team bond between themselves and give everything for each other and my self and Jim Moore.
A big thank you has to be given to all my team parents for all the help and support they have given the under 9 Lions this season. I am yet to see them walking away from a game disappointed in the performance of the team.
They are a vital part of the team and turn up whatever the weather to cheer the team on and pick them up after a loss or praise them after a win. From the Long Lane summer cup we had in August there has always been a sense of excitement between the parents regarding the team. I have regular conversations with them all, whether it be in person by phone or by text or even email we have a great relationship and this has been evident all season. I have to also mention Jim and Teresa Moore for all there help in both the running/training and financial affairs of the team and would be lost with out them both.
So for now we are first in the league, hopefully things will go our way, but if not we should all be proud of our under 9 Lions even if they do finish 2nd. We have a lot of work to do between now and September but I know our boys will be ready for the challenge of A league football and everything it brings.
Next week we play our rivals Halls in the Bexley Shield, this just adds to the excitement.
Now I have to decide on player awards for the presentation night. 12 players who all deserve every award going each. No one said it would be easy!
A LEAGUE FOOTBALL HERE WE COME!