"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life."
Jean Luc Picard
It was early on Saturday morning and this quote appeared on my social media feed. As gutted as I still felt from the day before, it made me smile. It's not often I get to quote Star Trek and use it in school as an actual life lesson.
The harsh reality is that we lost the semi final 3-2. And that's it - our glorious run has ended, no more football competitions this year. The end. Fin. The phrase 'crushing disappointment' doesn't even begin to cover it, but hey ho!
For those of you who weren't there, what was the story of the match?
I think it needs stating first of all that Broadfield were really very good. They knew what they were doing and were solid at the back, but their true strength was in their attacking line up. They had a number of quality attackers whose pace, power and skill made the difference on the day. Try as might, we just couldn't contain them.
It also needs pointing out that we were not at full strength. Now then, I don't want to make excuses, but the simple fact is that we were without our usual keeper, who was ill on the day. That meant that Kyle had to go in goal and our defenders had to be reshuffled. Although our players were all good enough to play in a variety of positions, mixing things up like that needed a bit of getting used to. I've never been one to dwell on ifs, buts and maybes, but I can't help but wonder what might have happened if we had our usual ten players.
Another point of note was the occasion itself. To their credit, Broadfield had gone all-out to make the match a proper occasion. Their PTA had set up a stall to sell drinks and snacks, and they had clearly invited other families to come along and support their team. We have never played in front of a crowd like it - not even at the Wix Cup final. The glorious sunny weather helped with the atmosphere and you could really feel the excitement in the air when we arrived. (Mental note - we need to do something similar if we ever get to this stage again.)
The game itself started off as a very close-run affair. There weren't many chances for either side but I could tell that they were going to cause us some trouble. Broadfield took the lead midway through the first half thanks to a looping header that gave Kyle no chance. Brilliantly, our heads did not drop and we stayed positive, knowing that we were good enough to get back into the match. A lovely passing move saw Frank make a break down the wing and his cross was turned into the net by their defender.
1-1 at half time and it was game-on.
Before we could get going in the second half, we went behind again. A powerful strike from just inside the area (I think) which almost burst the net. We had gone behind in other matches, but we had never gone behind twice. It did seem to knock the stuffing out of us and it took a while to get back into our stride again. We put some pressure on, but I don't really recall any clear-cut chances to get back into the game.
When Broadfield extended their lead to make it 3-1 thanks to another blistering strike, the pressure was truly on. We tried to keep positive and we kept on attacking, but it didn't look like it was going to be our day.
I had been keeping a close eye on the time remaining and the minutes ticked away at alarming speed. On my watch, the final minute disappeared and I accepted our inevitable defeat. Only, it was at that moment when Dieago burst through their back line and dinked the ball over their oncoming 'keeper. A consolation, I thought. That was nothing more than a consloation. The ref would surely blow for full time? But he didn't. Instead, he indicated that there were two minutes left to play. Two minutes? We couldn't, could we?
Nope, we couldn't.
And, to be honest, I think that it was a fair result. All of our players did their very best and gave it their all, but I think that Broadfield were better on the day.
Thanks to all the parents who have supported us during our run.
It'll soon be time to start preparing for some rounders matches...