It was time. The long-awaited Final of the Year 11’s County Cup, at Woodside Road. Against Mr Swift’s now rivalled Forest School.
The adrenaline began to kick in when the boys clustered together outside the Stadium’s gates; all raring to play, all wanting to get back on form, after the Plymouth elimination still on the player’s minds. After a late appearance from Coach Corbett, the players entered the gates of Worthing FC, to view what appeared to be a slick, well-cut pitch. Straight into the Home changing rooms, the boys were hyped; gameday banter flooding the room and experiencing an inspirational pre-game teamtalk from Coach Corbett. This was all the boys needed to go on and do what was expected of them.
With a surprisingly large amount of Durrington High School parents, grandparents and fans urging the boys on, it was underway. Almost instantly, the boys already struggled to play their well-known “tika-taka” football, on what seemed to be an un-watered, “Sahara-desert-dry” pitch. With the ball bobbling after every touch, the boys’ frustration began to rise. The first 15 minutes saw chances squandered by both teams, yet Forest School appeared to have started the quickest and Durrington constantly chasing the ball down.
Then, the breakthrough arrived. Unfortunately for Durrington, a miscalculation between Smith and Bassett saw the No.8 for Forest – who had already been impressive – loop the ball into the top corner of the net. To make what had been a panicked start from Durrington worse, they had conceded, and now saw themselves 1-0 down. After receiving a vital wake-up call, the quality at which Durrington played football began to alter. Although the boys were not fully on top of the opposition, more chances came from Marsden, May and Hartley, with not one being tucked away. With the officials not giving Durrington hardly any decisions their way, the frustration levels of the players escalated. Just in time, the referee blew the whistle for half-time. Durrington 0 Forest 1.
Following another inspirational half-time talk from Coach Corbett, the boys realised they did not want to go home empty-handed, and their attitudes changed. The second half began with a pace, with vital chances for both sets of players yet squandered, this time from set pieces. A corner from Hartley saw Smith connect with a header, only for it to be cleared out for another corner. Marsden also had a chance to level the score, yet it went amiss. However, one of these chances was taken advantage of. After a beautifully played lofted ball from the newly-substituted Chaplin floated over the top of the right back’s head, it found the feet of Rigglesworth who smashed home an awesome cracker of a goal to bring Durrington back level. Durrington 1 Forest 1.
Literally minutes after the goal, the goalscorer Rigglesworth saw himself with a perfect set-back, only to be blasted over the top of the bar. For the remainder of the game, even more chances were not taken by Forest – but saved by the powerful stature of Whittaker. After cramped muscles and substitutes, the referee finally blew his whistle for the end of normal playing time.
Into extra time Durrington and Forest went, with the tiredness starting to show, with a vast amount of sloppy, strayed passes being played around the pitch. As more cramp problems occurred, and the pure exhaustion being displayed before the fan’s very eyes, the whole of the Extra Time period passed rapidly; sending the teams into a penalty shootout.
The five penalty takers were decided. The referee was ready, as were the penalty takers.
The first to step up was a Forest striker, whom had only just come on in extra-time. Saved by Whittaker. 0-0.
Chaplin steps up for Durrington penalty No.1. Scores. 1-0.
The second penalty for Forest. Poor run-up, poor penalty. Saved again by Whittaker. Remains 1-0.
Wilson steps up to take the 2nd penalty for Durrington. Back of the net. 2-0.
Forest No.8 steps up. Scores. 2-1.
May to take the 3rd for DHS. Down the middle. Saved by Forest keeper. Remains 2-1.
Forest’s 4th taker runs up. Puts it away. 2-2.
Marsden for the 4th penalty. Palmed by the keeper…but into the net. 3-2.
Forest’s final taker needed to score. And did. 3-3.
Beaney stepped up to win it for Durrington. And scored a wonderful penalty. 4-3. Game over.
Agreed Man Of The Match: Lee Whittaker – GK
Durrington High School Year 11s became the County Cup winners, and the celebrations began.