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Ealing save best for last to clinch West London Colleges Premier league title on memorable night

29 Apr 2016

League match – 29th April 2016

Ealing Independent College 3-1 Albemarle College

Team: Azim, Jamie G, Mohamed, Krystian, Jamie R, Hamza, Hamze (Seb), Evan

Goal scorers: Evan 2, Jamie R

The College had been gripped with an anxious, yet excited mood for days. Anticipation had been building for Ealing A2’s date with destiny since Albemarle had climbed back to the top of the league last Thursday. They knew that only a win would do, and so, cheered on by a large, boisterous contingent of support from Ealing, they brought their ‘A’ game to Westway Sports Centre last night, realising the dreams of their manager, their fans and themselves to clinch a first ever 8-a-side League Championship trophy.

Ealing gained the upper hand from the start, and came roaring out of the blocks, laying siege to the Albemarle goal. Hamze had a snapshot on the turn deflected wide, while Evan’s shot from an angle was spilled by the goalkeeper. Hamza smashed the follow up over the top, then raged at himself for doing so. The opening ten minutes saw the purples struggle to get out of their own half, but Ealing couldn’t quite find the reward of a lead. Gradually, Albemarle started to creep into the game. Their tall, strong number 14 had a good shot palmed out by Azim, and then the elusive number 5 managed to get between the lines before crashing a shot off the outside of the post. Hamze picked up a booking from the ref for dissent, and Ealing started to lose composure a little. The half ended goalless, and both sides knew that the destiny of the trophy hung in the balance.

As well as Ealing started the first half, their start to the second was even better. An exacting goal kick by Jamie G found Hamze on the right who pulled it down with the deftest of touches. He slalomed his way past a challenge before laying back to Evan, who sent the ball into the far corner with minimum fuss. Celebrations ensued, but there was a long way to go, and as it happened, many twists and turns were to follow. Ealing have had a very bad habit of losing goals soon after taking the lead this season, and it worked against them again here. Whether down to complacency, thinking that the hard work had been done, or just a lack of focus, Albemarle were gifted an equaliser. A poor passage of play saw Jamie G and Mohamed struggle to get the ball clear. While it was around the area, there was always a chance that the number 14, who had looked dangerous all match, could grab a goal. He showed good strength to hold off the defenders, before handily prodding past Azim, and sparking a mini pitch invasion by the Albemarle coach and their small contingent of fans.

It was time for Ealing to show whether they had the mark of true champions. They had been put in a tricky situation with only 12 minutes remaining, and needed a goal badly. Hamza was perhaps too vociferous in one too many challenges, and he picked up a yellow card. Krystian, who’s free kicks had Albemarle on red alert throughout, broke free after a superb interception but took a heavy touch before getting his shot away and the ‘keeper was able to smother it. The whites needed a change and Hamze, who was not having his best game by his very high standards, was withdrawn for Seb, whose high energy levels could be counted on to get Albemarle on the back foot.

With 8 minutes left, the purples were sinking deeper and deeper, straining to get the ball clear. It was only a matter of time before an opening emerged for Ealing and it fell to Jamie R. He would admit that he didn’t strike it as well as he could, but his shot made it’s way past the goalkeeper and trundled agonisingly over the line and into the back of the net. This time it was the Ealing fans who could not contain their joy, and they ran on the pitch to mob the men in white. Ealing simply could not allow the same lapse in concentration to happen again, and they strained every sinew to defend their advantage.

A break away managed to bring a corner to relieve some pressure. Good work by Jamie R and Krystian gave the tall winger an opening. His initial shot was blocked, but fell to Evan, who nailed an unstoppable strike into the corner to provide some breathing space. Again the fans unbridled joy spilled onto the pitch. There was enough time left in the game for the whites to give themselves a few worrying moments. A mazy run by the purples’ number 10 saw him beat two before firing wide, but that was as good as it got in the remaining moments. When the referee, who officiated superbly in difficult circumstances, blew the final whistle, the fans again ran on to the pitch to congratulate the new league champions.

Coach Allan Cairns was a little more reserved in his reaction, but his pride in what the team had achieved could not be hidden. He handed the trophy to captain Krystian who held it aloft to rapturous applause from the crowd of teachers, students and parents who remained. Albemarle, and their manager Aneizi Mohammed, deserve great credit for their dignified actions throughout the game, along with how gracious they were in defeat. The match last night was played in great spirit, and as a spectacle typified the friendly competition which makes football so important to many. It was a fitting end to a wonderful season of football at the College.

Man of the Match: Evan.

Many candidates on during an excellent team performance, but having taken a great deal of jovial criticism for his lack of goals, Evan was the man for the big occasion. With two vital strikes and a tireless performance, there was no better way to bow out on his last game for the College.

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