THE FINAL CHAPTER
Leonard Stanley having broke league rules in the same fixture only a week earlier by playing one 1st team player too many were made to replay this fix
BY Scott Moroney
In doing so Quedgeley Wanderers having guaranteed promotion by beating Frampton United 2-1 on the Saturday just gone, are given an opportunity to win the league ahead of Wickwar Wanderers. They also do this as a team without a manager for the 2nd time this season.
So, win the game, win the league.
Quedgeley kick off in front of their biggest crowd of the season on a hot Wednesday evening in April.
Quedgeley look to settle the quicker of the two teams. Getting the ball down and knocking it about. Leonard Stanley look to have fielded a slightly weakened team by opting to play less, first team players. What is apparent, the strength of their attack which is represented by their first team strikers who possess, pace and composure.
Stanley would use this to there advantage playing long balls over the top for the attackers to run onto.
21 Mins - The deadlock is broken. From an opposition throw in deep in the Quedgeley half the ball is squared to a striker on the edge of the box. With time to turn, he then hits a crisp,clean strike. The ball rifles into the goal, side netting giving Tom Farmer in goal no chance. 0-1
Quedgeley don't allow their heads to drop. They haven't all season so no need to start now. As Quedgeley press the game becomes a bit more open with play going end to end. The Leonard Stanley keeper is forced into a number of good saves, keeping his side ahead in the game.
36 Mins - James Lawes picks up the ball having won a tackle out on the left wing.
He drives forward with the ball into the Leonard Stanley 18 yard box and shoots across the keeper beating him with the ball nestling into the bottom right corner. 1-1
For the rest of the half play continues in the same fashion with both sides taking a share of the spoils into half time.
Half time - Quedgeley Wanderers 1 - 1 Leonard Stanley
Some strong words and encouragement from stand in assistant Alex McCatty and Captain Scott Moroney the team are reminded it's just 45 minutes to get a win and grab promotion.
Quedgeley are at it from the off, really pushing to take the lead against a back 4 not really up to much but a keeper who is.
57 Mins - The old strike team of Graeme Holmes and Stu Ballinger link up to give Wanderers a deserved lead. Graeme passes the ball square to Stu on the edge of the box who in turn has time to get his touch before side footing the ball passed the keeper into the bottom corner. 2-1
Graeme Holmes with a free header at the the back post, has all the time in the world to pick his spot but sends the header wide.
After going ahead Wanderers soak up some pressure from Stanley who continue to play long ball after long ball. On 67 minutes, Scott Moroney who has had an injury hit season makes way for vice captain Jason Rossell.
72 Mins - Tom Farmer finds himself beaten once more. Another quality finish as the Stanley striker from out on the right edge of the 18 yard box hits a looping shot over the Quedgeley keeper to level the scores. Nothing anyone could do, just one of those.
The goal brings about 2 quick changes for Wanderers. Fresh legs as they look to push for the win and the title.
Mark Ballard and Andy Collins off, Matt Cappel (playing in his last game) and Andrew Porter on.
Most of the play is now in the opposition half but Quedgeley as has been the case quite often this season cannot take their chances and become frustrated.
83 Mins - A real blow. With the Quedgeley team pushing on and the team looking dead on their feet the back 3 are left exposed against 2 quick strikers.
One runs past Ross Bingham at left back into the box and squares a pass for his strike partner to slot home from close range. 2-3
Pace is always a problem for defenders but when the team have given everything there is no shame.
Wanderers continued to push until the very end but on this occasion just didn't quite have enough.
Final - Quedgeley Wanderers 2-3 Leonard Stanley
GOALS - Lawes & Ballinger
Assist - Holmes
MOM - Lee Overthrow
Final words on the season - At the beginning of this campaign, nobody would have given this team even an outside chance of finishing in the top half let alone gaining promotion,having escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth last season.
However, this pre season a squad of 21 assembled. Quickly a team spirit formed, the players fought for each other week in, week out and despite the manager leaving twice the players stuck at it.
By the end of this, Leonard Stanley fixture and after a long hard season your efforts were rewarded with promotion to division 4.
I hope you all look back on the season in fondness and with pride. You did this as a team willing to fight for each other and with a never say die attitude.
I personally would just like to thank each and everyone of you boys for an enjoyable season.
Let's enjoy presentation evening before turning our attention to a good preseason and hopefully another good season. Only this time in division 4.