Cruel finale for Watton
THE last eight days of the 2007/08 season were cruel to Watton United. They saw the Anglian Combination Division One title snatched away from them on goal difference when Loddon United leapfrogged into top spot with a 7-1 drubbing of bottom-of-the-table, Fakenham.
THE last eight days of the 2007/08 season were cruel to Watton United.
They saw the Anglian Combination Division One title snatched away from them on goal difference when Loddon United leapfrogged into top spot with a 7-1 drubbing of bottom-of-the-table, Fakenham.
Then they were beaten 1-0 by Premier Division Hempnall in the Senior Knock-Out Cup final at Trafford Park, Wroxham.
At the final whistle, Watton's players were understandably dejected. However, they can count themselves very unlucky to have finished up on the losing side, as joint-managers Derbyshire and Vince Harwood made clear.
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“We just didn't quite do enough,” said Harwood. “We were strong and we battled but we couldn't break them down.”
Derbyshire added: “We allowed ourselves to get drawn into playing the ball long when we know we're most effective when we pass and move. And we didn't take the chances that came our way either.”
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But both men expressed their great pride in the way their team performed - not just in the cup final but all season.
“The boys should hold their heads up high - every one of them,” Derbyshire insisted.
He also heaped praise on Watton's fantastic support on the night. “They were brilliant, absolutely brilliant,” he said. “I'm just sorry we couldn't have rewarded their efforts by winning the cup.”
The future surely could not be brighter if this young group of players stays together. The average age of the squad for the cup final was just 22.
In the end, it may actually have been lack of experience that cost Watton the trophy.
They more than matched their opponents throughout the game and had the clearer scoring chances.
But when Hempnall stole the lead in the 78th minute, United's players lost their heads a little in their desperation to draw level.
Watton had chances - when Bloomfield drilled in a low shot which was blocked by the keeper and the ball ran agonisingly just inches wide.
Nichols and Sharpe had headed efforts. At the other end, Mark Woods did well to deal with one awkward ball in from a corner and young keeper Matt Webster brilliantly tipped over a free-kick.