Romsey 6 – 3 Portsmouth Sharks

The last game of the season saw Romsey, who at that point languished in fifth, take on the league champions Portsmouth Sharks. The two sides had clashed a number of times, with Portsmouth taking the majority of victories and Romsey the most recent in a fierce encounter just before Christmas. Whilst Portsmouth had already won the league, this was an important match for the home side who were hoping to claim third. This was reflected in the attitude of the captain, Matt Clark, who roused his troops with a speech of wit and eloquence that would put William Wordsworth to shame, and promised a bundle if Romsey were victorious. With this and the history between the two clubs in mind, Romsey went out and attacked the game, finding themselves 2-0 up within the first ten minutes. The first goal came from strong wing play that saw the ball driven into the box, resulting in a short corner. After initial confusion over how the corner was to be taken, the drag flick was left for the indomitable Tim Bailey, who fired home with ease. The second was also a short corner, coming out to captain Clark who hit across the face of goal, providing Mark McArdle with a tap in. Whilst at first it seemed like only a matter of time before Romsey would be three or four up on the Sharks, the home side were undone later in the first half. This was partly due to a relaxation of the team and the match after that second goal, and also the realisation that they had a numerical player advantage. This realisation increased Romsey’s tendency to relax, and the price came in the form of a scrappy goal for the Sharks midway through the first half. With not long left of the first half, Portsmouth then equalised after finding themselves two on one with man of the match keeper Alex Buck.

M3 End of Season 2013/14 Team Photo

M3 End of Season 2013/14 Team Photo

Having received the hair dryer treatment from injured vice captain Pete Cooper, Romsey started the second half brightly. A combination of passes between Clark and striker Nick Mason saw the Portsmouth defence beaten and drew a good save from their keeper. Whilst it seemed like the next goal would surely go to the home team, Portsmouth struck back and Romsey found themselves 3-2 down. Whilst this seemed like a repetition of the nightmarish 5-4 defeat to Trojans, Romsey did not allow themselves to be disheartened. Once again good play from the wingers, this time Robinson and Halcoussis, led to a short corner. This was again converted by Bailey, and it seemed that the fightback was on. A crucial part of the midfield trio that had been driving the team all day, Phil provided Romsey with the goal to take them back into the lead after deflecting in a cross from Clark. Having taken the lead, Romsey withstood a substantial amount of pressure from the Sharks and survived in no small part due to the efforts of sweeper Lukasz Suleja, who was as solid as usual. Numerous short corners were saved, either by keeper Buck, the defenders, including Blake Cookson, Luke, Hugh, Nick Buck and James Manning, or by the stick then face of Alex Halcoussis. After weathering this storm, Clark found his grace and poise on the pitch rewarded with a goal of his own, assisted by Robinson. At 5-3, Romsey went for blood. Strikers Nick Mason and Ben continued to work tirelessly and both went close to finishing off the contest. It was however a second for Phil that gave Romsey their sixth, as he hammered home from the penalty spot.

Traditional End-of-Season Shenanigans

Traditional End-of-Season Shenanigans

The scoreline was an accurate reflection of the game, as Romsey exploited the spaces available to them and played well all over the pitch. As Portsmouth celebrated being league champions, Romsey bundled Clark, who did not suffer any major injuries, excluding a collapsed lung.

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