Under-14 Division Two
Basford United 1
Barrowby Gladiators 2
A goal from Higlett with just one minute of extra time remaining emphatically clinched the league title for the Barrowby side.
The Gladiators had recently beaten Basford to finish the league equal on points, setting up a further play-off game to determine winners and runners-up.
The Nottingham outfit were left shell-shocked having been unbeaten until they faced Barrowby, and then losing both games in an unlikely twist.
Once again, Barrowby went a goal down after conceding from a corner and saw the home side go into the second half with a narrow lead.
Another extremely competitive game saw two yellow cards – both given to Basford players. At times, attacking runs from Jackson were too much for the home side and they were fortunate not to concede a penalty or two.
Basford played some good football on their 3G home surface, but when they did see sight of goal Cole saved superbly on repeated occasions to add further frustration.
The Barrowby defence was kept busy, with one mistake likely to be costly. Gibson and Watkins both made timely and courageous interceptions, whilst Bramley made determined runs deep into the opposition half.
On a full size pitch both teams started to tire, not surprisingly, as players put their bodies on the line. Kettle was hauled down with an arm around his neck as both he and Gibbons worked tirelessly in the middle.
Barrowby grew in confidence and responded well to a positive half time team talk from the coaches. Their play became more cohesive as Wade dropped into midfield. And therein came the equaliser as more chances were created – Higlett toe-poking the ball with his right boot up and over the keeper.
With the away side back on level terms, Alves and Wade each saw free kicks go close. Neither side was going to give this one up easily, the referee facing some difficult decisions in and around penalty areas with both teams looking for an advantage. But it wasn’t to be and with Bramley now injured and out of the game, extra time loomed.
With several Barrowby lads suffering knocks and no more substitutes, they continued the fight like true Gladiators. Wade dropped further into defence and made a goal-saving tackle, tracking the dangerous run of Lloyd.
The midfield continued to work hard and Cummins offered a good outlet on the right side to help relieve pressure. Polzin, now playing in midfield, put in two strong tackles, his sliding tackle resulting in a further injury concern.
With penalties imminent, the ball fell to Higlett in the box and a sweet left foot strike nestled inside the left upright – what a way to win the league and follow last season’s treble winning campaign with promotion to Division One.
Barrowby: Cole, Watkins, Bramley, Alves, Coombes, Cummins, Gibson, Gibbons, Polzin, Wade, Kettle, Jackson, Peberdy, Higlett