After a day of reflection, I'm still not sure how to write a report for this match. I'll just start typing and see where it leads me...
Let's start at the end and work back from there. We lost the final on penalties - possibly one of the worst ways to lose a match. All of those matches, all of those victories, all of that effort, all of that hard work and it came down to a few kicks of a ball. The weather was unseasonably cold, there was a steady drizzle falling, and it just seemed to typify our mood.
When Greenway stepped up to blast home the winning penalty, we were absolutely devastated. Players and parents and staff alike, we were just destroyed by it all. There were no words to make anyone feel better, and any words of encouragement just sounded hollow.
Over the season we had played in many different types of matches: end-to-end exciting ones, relatively comfortable ones, hard-fought ones, fun ones and incredibly tense ones. This final was unlike any game we had played so far. It was niggly and, dare I say it, unpleasant.
From the first whistle, there was very little flow to game. The rain had made the astro-turf extra slippy and it was very difficult to control the ball and play proper football. There were very few chances made by either side except for the occasional long shot. We had a few good efforts but nothing clear-cut. They had a few chances but nothing to worry our 'keeper.
Now then, I'm not going to go into the finer details of exactly what went wrong, why it went wrong and who was to blame, but as the match progressed, it seemed to descend into a total foul-fest. From the off, there was an awful lot of pushing off the ball, which just escalated with every passing minute. More and more free-kicks were given, and the overall mood, like the clouds overhead, became darker. Any sense of fun and enjoyment that had once been there had drained away long before the final whistle was blown.
It became less of a football match and more of a battle. But here's the thing...
Over the course of this season, our boys have proved themselves time and again. Individually, they have all been fantastic and they have worked brilliantly as a team. To be honest, they have played some of the best football I have every seen a school team play and they have always played in the right spirit. This final saw them drawn into a very physical game (with extra emphasis on the *very*) and they more than matched the opposition.
Penalties aside, this team finished the season unbeaten - which is a tremendous achievement. Mr Berkeley and myself are incredibly proud of what they managed to accomplish.