Five Matches That Clinched The Title


Courtesy Graham Burrell

It might not seem an obvious game in which a title was won, but the hard-fought match at Cambridge typified everything good about this team.

It was the second game of an eleven match run in which we won just three, but in terms of grinding out results it has to go down as a perfect example of why we won the title.

The first half was laboured, we looked lethargic and hungover from our Boxing Day defeat against Crewe. Cambridge might have finished in the bottom four, but they do have players that can hurt and Jevani Brown was on fire. David Amoo looked dangerous too and they took a 1-0 lead, with chances to make it two. It looked like being a poor end to the year.

Half time came and everything felt flat. We’d struggled to create anything at all against a tough side and needed to show character; the sort of character title-winners have.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

For ten or fifteen minutes in the second half we looked tired and short of ideas, but then five mad minutes turned it all around. The bitter cold made me wonder if I might lose my toes before the end of the game, but Neal Eardley’s perfect free kick gave me feeling back in my feet and belief we could go on and win the game.

Belief. That’s what fuelled this win. Within five minutes the home side had crumbled and we’d extended our lead at the top. John Akinde showed persistence and strength to turn in the six-yard box and fire home a 75th minute winner. 

We won plenty of games by narrow margins, we showed fighting spirit in tough situations but this game had everything squeezed together inside 90 minutes.

Courtesy Graham Burrell