Spain Park played host to what has ultimately become the most important game in the ADJFA Under 17’s A league season. In the final game of the campaign, Banks O’Dee Albion went in three points ahead of their opponents – whatever they did, they’d either be champions, or be within a shot of becoming champions come full-time.
Lewis United Rangers on-the-other-hand knew they had to win. A win still wouldn’t be enough to crown them champions, but in a league that does not utilise goal difference, a win would draw the two sides level on points – forcing a play-off.
The game started off fairly evenly, but Albion were looking to take control centrally, which was helping to provide them with the majority of possession.
It would be Albion who took the lead, just after the ten minute mark. A cleared corner fell to Finlay Ness wide right, the number nine shaped to cross and his strong ball in drifted over the goalkeeper, smashing off the post before dropping into the net.
United seemed to be invigorated by the act of conceding and also replied instantly, a long ball forward from the kick off fell to Jay Halliday. Halliday calmly side footed the ball from the centre of the box, only to see it crash agonisingly off of the underside of the crossbar, before bouncing clear.
If United weren’t kicking themselves before, they would be just minutes later as Albion doubled their lead. The home sides forward line were linking up well with one touch passing and a slick move shifted the ball out wide left to Harry Ingram, with the striker cutting inside to curl a shot past the Lewis goalkeeper.
The pressure continued to build on United, with Albion looking to put the game to bed, with the away side beginning to look a bit snowed under – however, they managed to weather the storm, and began to find their way back into the game.
With 25 minutes on the clock, United brought the game back to life. They’d begun to mount more forward movements and following a secondary ball from a corner, Demilade Yunus – who’d won the corner following a strong run, nodded the ball back across the face of goal for Lewis Youngson to touch the ball in right on the line.
A few minutes later it was almost level, United kept the pressure on and another corner caused issues with a scuffed clearance at the front post almost finding its way into the net for an own goal – but instead drifted back towards the opposite side of the pitch.
Albion began to take some more control back towards half-time, but they could not regain their two goal lead before the half-time whistle, which lined up a second half where everything was very much still on the line.