Having faced difficult games and scared some top teams but with no results, my Hampstead U15s have been guaranteed their Division 2 status following a 3-2 win away at Headstone Manor A. It was one of the games where we actually got a result for our eternal hard work and determination.
It leaves me going into today’s game at home against Eagles United with a feeling of slight relaxation. However, don’t think for a second that that translates as complacency.
There are teams, even in youth leagues, that will stop at nothing to get what they want. Eagles United is one of those teams. In the reverse fixture earlier this season, Hampstead lost 1-0, due to Eagles United being able to get on the side of the referee. This meant that despite us throwing the kitchen sink at them with penalty shouts all through the match, no penalties were given and all ong balls were given as offside.
The irony is the fact that if Eagles United win today, they will be promoted.
There is a side to me that says: Go ahead and win (despite the fact we are playing the last game of the season at home) because next season I don’t want to be playing against a bunch of nutters (for want of a better word) that will foul any opposition player they see as a threat next season. But then, I want revenge against this side. That could be winning against them today, or win by cheating (against ethics, but gives me personal satisfaction). That would mean we face them some time next season.
Next season, we are classed as U16s. The referee is no longer an excuse for losing matches if we play well. The opposition ARE GOING to be stronger. They ARE GOING to cheat. They ARE GOING to get angry and throw some punches if they get frustrated (actually, that’s a good thing!)
But still, we need to become stronger both mentally as well as physically in order to deal with it. We need to focus on OUR game rather than just trying to counteract the opposition or playing dirty to a dirty tactic. That will get us nowhere, apart from the trapdoor.