Linguine FC and Sport Development & Coaching (SDC) FC had both overcome great adversity to reach the Intramural Playoff final. Linguine overcame the hot favourites and league champions Beercalona. SDC progressed by beating last year's double champions Stroke City FC. There was a late start due to a number of SDC players getting stopped by stewards trying to contain huge crowds for the biggest fixture of the season.
With gusty conditions and constant drizzle the conditions were perfect for intramural football. The match started at lightning pace with both sides trying to gain an early advantage. Linguine were looking to hit one of their dangerous forwards, and an early cross found an unmarked Linguine player in the box who was unable to control and capitalise on SDC's defensive error. As the first half went on SDC began to dominate possession with slick interplay in the middle of the park and driving runs from their wingers. The Linguine goalkeeper was forced into making a number of crucial saves. Linguine FC were still well and truly in the game playing long and looking to capitalise on the space in behind SDC forcing their keeper to be wary at all times. As the pressure mounted tensions began to flair, with heavy tackles coming from both teams. The teams went into half time at 0-0 with all still to play for.
Linguine came out of the half time team talk with a new found intensity and aggression. Praise must be given to the coach motivating his team to make the early breakthrough. And they nearly did. Great interplay down the wing allowed Linguine to whip a dangerous cross into the box. A powerful leap was met with a perfect header as players and fans alike watched the ball fly towards goal…Denied by the crossbar and SCD could clear their lines. Linguine, not to be bowed by this, grew in confidence believing they could make the decisive play. And they did. A great midfield pass sliced open SDC's defence and was met by the winger who swooped in and finished beautifully around the keeper. 1-0 Linguine FC!
With the game moving at a frantic pace SDC tried to gain more possession and control the game. Numerous challenges and physical battles were occurring with neither side gaining a decisive advantage. Some great interplay by SDC around the 18 yard box found a player driving into the box, a last ditch tackle by a Linguine defender brought the player down. The crowd held their breath; all eyes were on the referee… Penalty! The Linguine players were adamant contact was outside the box. Up stepped the SDC player, a chance to wrestle control back into their hands. The player advanced purposefully, whipping his pen low to the right of the keeper. The keeper flew to his right and got a strong hand on the ball. Immediately an SDC player followed up and was again denied by the keeper but the ball again rebounded into the path of a player who calmly converted while all were losing their heads in a goal line scramble. 1-1. Game on.
SDC FC then raised their game with the penalty seeming to deflate Linguini. Constant pressure finally paid off with the players combining a beautiful array of passes into the box which was calmly converted by SDC to take a 2-1 lead.
The pressure of winning the playoffs got to both teams in the latter stages. With this burden, a range of passing and control errors began to creep into the game. Tempers on both sides began to flair, with some classic handbags on show! The referee had no choice but to warn the players and issue a number of cards to both teams. As the game looked to deteriorate into a scrappy affair the final whistle was blown. 2-1 to SDC and a first ever playoff crown for them. Wild celebrations with their fans ensued.
The final score was Linguine FC 1 – 2 SDC FC. All in all, it was an enjoyable, good and lively match to say the least.
We would like to thank all teams, players and fans who have played and supported the Intramural League this year. It has been a great season with numerous competitive games played in great spirit. Again thanks to the referees who have helped make this a great and fair competition. If you are at Hallam next year we look forward to seeing you again!
The match stats:
- 2 Freekick
- 17 Corners
- 8 Fouls
- 32 Throw-ins
- 67% possession SDC
- 33% Possession Linguine
- 2 goals SDC
- 1 goal Linguine