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Saturday 10th May 2008
Debden Sports 4
Castle United 2
Debden lined up not knowing if they were going to be promoted from the Romford and District Premier Division they were in second place but needed to wait on other results to see if they would finish there, Castle on the other hand had already sealed promotion from the Ilford and District 1st Division. Some of the key players from Debden were carrying knocks and suffering from playing their last two league games on the Monday and Wednesday of that week and it showed in the first twenty minutes of the game as a generally younger and fitter looking Castle had the better of the early exchanges.
This period of play culminated with Castle taking a narrowly deserved lead half way through the first half when one of their strikers ran clean through the Debden defence and buried a fine shot in the bottom corner from 12 yards out – 1 – 0 Castle. Debden tried to rally but as Gunning looked to break down the flank and they threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser they twice left themselves open at the back and had to rely on Russell Nairne in Goal who came out to make two tremendous blocks using his sizeable frame!
The half finished with both Tommy Gunning and Alex Gipps going close for Debden and several corners to the Greens. The second half started and after 5 minutes it looked like Castle had broken the Debden supporter's hearts when they scored at close range from a corner. Debden Manager Danny Moody threw on his secret weapon Steve ‘Sponge Bob’ Holding a highly gifted but severely overweight centre midfielder for a clearly animated Wayne ‘The Div’ Beeson!
Within 5 minutes of being on the pitch Holding had bought some composure to the Debden team, Gunning had been instructed to push further up on the left almost making a front three and this started to bring pressure. At the back Martin Loe was solid and winning all his headers and it was from an excellent Loe header that Debden got back in the game when he scored to make it 2-1 with about 20 minutes to go from a Holding corner.
Now it was all Debden and Moody decided to go for broke taking off Warhorse at the back Paul Henson and throwing on an extra midfield player in Alan Manton. The score was still locked at 2-1 with 10 minutes to go when Moody brought himself on for the hardworking and centre forward Stephen O'Brien. With around 5 minutes left in the game another Holding dead ball was attacked by Moody and Steve Tucker forcing the Castle Centre half to head into his own net, the Debden fans went mad and the players knew it was game on.
The momentum was now with Debden and they came out into extra time fired up but Castle were also ready for a battle. Towards the end of the first period of extra time Gipps did excellent work to win a Free kick 25 yards out from the Castle goal (Holding Territory), this time the big centre midfielder made no mistake and sent a delightfully curled ball into the far left hand corner of the Castle Goal cue delirium amongst the Debden players and fans who sensed an Istanbul like comeback was in progress.
Castle just missed out on making it 3-3 with a rare chance in what was turning into Debden's game. Then in the second half a heavily limping Gipps picked up the ball just outside the Castle box and sealed the victory for Debden with a great curling shot into the bottom right hand corner!
The fans and players rejoiced a great victory at the end of a thrilling game!
Debden Team, Russell Nairne, Wayne Beeson, Damian Clark, Alex Gipps, Thomas Gunning, Paul Henson, Martin Loe, Tony Murray, Stephen O'Brien, Steve Tucker, Nicholas Watson
Subs, Steve Holding, Alan Manton, Danny Moody