First Team - Match centre

Heybridge Swifts
Phoenix Sports
Sat 22 Apr 15:00 - The Ryman Football League - North Division Full time Attendance 231

First Team v Phoenix Sports

Godbold is the hero as Swifts secure safety.

Swifts started this crucial end of season encounter needing nothing less than a victory and with other results going their way to avoid relegation from the Ryman League after 35 seasons at this level. They were given a mountain to climb when after 25 minutes they were 2-0 down following slack defending which saw Ansah and Bryon both score for the Kent based visitors from close range.

Swifts had little to offer in attack, only looking dangerous from Jack Cawley long throws and goalmouth scrambles and knock downs. Visiting keeper Steve Phillips was looking safe and with Phoenix already assured of a strong placing, albeit just outside the play offs, the carnival atmosphere Swifts hoped for was looking very flat.

Jody Brown clearly made an extremely good half time team talk, as the second half was a totally different affair. Swifts looked a completely different side, closing down space and pressing much harder, showing the passion and urgency that was lacking in the first half. Scoring crucially just after the break was an important factor, as Lewis Godbold’s looping header from Cole’s corner evaded keeper Phillips. This gave Swifts increased momentum and confidence and they were soon level when George Cole showed great skill and composure, cutting in from the left so drive home firmly off the far post.

Heybridge Swifts V Phoenix Sports 22/4/17.. Folder 2
80 photos

With an appreciative crowd of 231 cheering on the Swifts you could sense a winner was coming and Lewis Godbold capped a heroic display by heading home George Cole’s left wing cross in the 79th minute to send the home fans into raptures. Swifts’ defence were superb in the second half with outstanding displays once more from Anderson and Jack Cawley, who seems to get better with every game. The final result meant that with Soham eventually beating Maldon and Tiptree, Swifts were dependant on Ware losing which they did, 2-0 at VCD so Swifts survived on goal difference!

So after 46 league matches in a season where 51 points sees a side relegated, probably with the biggest points haul in the division’s history, it was all down to goal difference as Ware suffered their fate. Considering the highest relegated team in the South division finished with 20 points less, at 31, it just shows how competitive the league was. Swifts again showed great character for a young side and if Jody can keep the majority of this squad together for next season, they will be a lot stronger for their experience gained in a challenging season with serious budget constraints for the first half of the season at least.

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Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

League table

# Team Pl Pts
18. Dereham Town 46 54
19. Soham Town Rangers 46 53
20. Waltham Abbey 46 51
21. Heybridge Swifts 46 51
22. Ware 46 51
23. Wroxham 46 25
24. Great Wakering Rovers 46 25

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