Friday, 5 May 2017

Immingham Town 3 v Wyberton 2 - Lincs League Supplementary Cup Final

Lincolnshire Football League Supplementary Cup Final
at Eslaforde Park (Sleaford Town FC)
Immingham Town (1) 1 AET 3
John Waugh 32, 119
Jamie Wilkes 107
As part of a bizarre warm up routine, Immingham Town's
players were forced to form a line squeeze their testicles
Wyberton (0) 1 AET 2
Scott Dawson 65
Nicky Frost 118
Wyberton's pre-match rituals weren't quite as masochistic as their opponents
Admission £5 inc programme. Attendance 160
Flickr photo gallery: click HERE
Where to start!? 
What a great advertisement tonight's final was for the Lincolnshire Football League.
In the yellow corner, Wyberton, who hail from beside the A16 just to the south of Boston. 
They finished in third place in the Lincs League this season, while, in the red corner, Immingham Town finished sixth, some nine points behind the Colts.
Immingham is illuminated at night by the big oil and chemical plant that you can see in the distance (from quite some distance) on your left as you approach Grimsby and Cleethorpes on the M180 and is 56 miles due north of Elsaforde Park, the home of Sleaford Town, which is where tonight's showpiece final was being played.
The North East Lincolnshire side had turned up on a team bus, while an army of their noisy and colourful supporters arrived via another chartered coach. They had ultras, WAGs, team colours, flags, a drummer... the works! It must've been quiet in Immingham tonight.
Gary Nimmo got the game under way as the Pilgrims kicked off under a backdrop of resplendent sunshine, but... by heck, it got bloody cold (and even colder still) as the game hurtled along at a rare old pace towards it's thrilling climax.
Both sides had obviously decided that attack was the best form of defence as the game took on the guise of an end to end stampede.
Defenders were getting the better of things initially, in particular Dean Lodge, the Town left back.
The first real opportunity of the game fell to the 'Wybo' number ten, Fraser Bayliss, who ran onto a defence splitting pass from John McLeod, but hooked his dipping shot just over the bar with two Pilgrims defenders giving chase.
Both teams were beginning to make strides towards each others goals now and finding their way through two resolute back lines more often, but when Danny Simpson broke into the right hand side of the Wyberton area at pace, he put his shot into the wrong side of the side netting.
Bayliss was making a nuisance of himself but saw two half chances go wide of the Pilgrims goal, while at the other end Simpson saw his effort deflect wide of the goal.
There were obviously going to be goals in this game, given how committed both teams were to getting forward and the first one came in the thirty second minute, when Tom Hobson chased the ball down to the right hand side of Wyberton's area and showed some good control to divert it across the face of the goal to where John Waugh knocked it past James Doughty from two yards.
The Pilgrims could've doubled their lead just before the break, when Nimmo pounced on a defensive slip, but Doughty did well to put the ball around his post at the expense of a corner.
HT: Immingham Town 1 v Wyberton 0

Nimmo and Doughty were quickly reacquainted after the break, as the Wyberton keeper ran from his line to beat the Pilgrims player manager to the ball.
The Colts goal was coming under a bit of pressure at the outset of the second half and the ball skimmed inches over their crossbar, when Hobson picked up a loose ball thirty yards from goal, before advancing forward a few strides and aiming a thumping shot towards the top corner.
Bayliss repeated this trick at the other end moments later and was a similar distance away from snatching an equaliser.
Ben Cooke had looked lively for Immingham since coming on from the bench, but having broke clear of his marker with a burst of pace, he chose to take the ball wide of Doughty and drilled his shot past the right hand upright.
The tempo and pace wasn't letting up one bit and Craig Ritchie was forced into pulling off a great save to keep McLeod at bay after Jay McDonald had released him with a decent knock forward.
Jamie Wilkes surged past Nicky Frost but he rolled the ball wide as Doughty came out to narrow the angle.
McDonald combined with Lee Beeson, after Scott Dawson's header had been cleared for a Wyberton corner, but Beeson's first touch of the night was a half volley that flew inches  wide of the target.
Amidst a goalmouth scramble in front of Ritchie's net, Dawson nudged the ball just inside the right hand post to put Wyberton back on level terms in the sixty fifth minute.
Game on!
You couldn't take your eyes off of this game for a moment as it ebbed and flowed from one end to the other and as the clock ticked down towards ninety minutes, although it was now cold enough to snow and a lot of the players must've been knackered, I was looking forward to extra time, if it was half as incident packed as the first and second half had been.
Inside the final five minutes, Nimmo combined with Waugh. the latter hooked a cross towards Brendon Smyth and he hooked the ball just over the bar from six yards out.
Harry Bruce picked out McLeod with a long free kick towards the back stick, but when the Colts number eight lobbed the ball over Ritchie, it landed on top of the goal netting.
Waugh and Smyth both went close and in stoppage time Wyberton piled forwards, but Ritchie smothered the ball as Bayliss picked out Frost with a sideways ball across the face of the Pilgrims goal.
90 minutes: Immingham Town 1 v Wyberton 1
As an icy blast picked up across Elsaforde Park, some of the players were running on empty now, but their adrenaline and passion kept them pushing their tired limbs to the max
It was a real shame that either team was going to have to lose this captivating and massively entertaining contest now.
At one end, Danny Scrimshaw cued the ball up for Nimmo, but he shot wide, while at the other, Frost played advantage when his captain Grant Butler was fouled but saw his shot spin wide off of an Immingham defender.
Extra time HT: 1-1
Immingham set about trying to screw the lid down on Wyberton's resistance in the second half of extra time, with Cooke, Waugh and Ryan King, running amok for several minutes.
King played a free kick towards Jamie Glover who headed just over
A particularly unkind spectator asked me if the number 20 on Glover's back represented his weight, "No" I replied "I think that's his age!"
King sent a long pass through to Nimmo in the Wyberton area and his shot deflected for a corner, which Nimmo took himself; the ball was only half cleared as  far as Jamie Wilkes, who control the ball with his left foot and smashed it past Ritchie with his right.
It was a goal worthy of settling even the most pulsating of games, which is exactly what this one had turned out to be and with the end of extra time now in sight, you had to wonder if that is exactly what the enthralled crowd of 160 people had just witnessed, but there was still plenty more life in this game and the drama continued to unfold unabated.
Scott Raworth was shown a second yellow card and Immingham were reduced to ten men two minutes after Wilkes strike.
Young Mr Glover fizzed a shot just past the right hand upright, as a very leg weary Immingham team took to trying to play down the clock.
But with just two minutes of extra time remaining, Wyberton found a second (or even third by now) wind from somewhere and Nicky Frost ran to meet a long ball into the Pilgrims area and from ten yards out, steered the ball inches beyond the reach of Ritchie's fingertips and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
So there we were, last minute of extra time wondering which end the penalties would be at and Glover picked up the ball and sprayed a pass to Nimmo, he hooked the ball to Cooke whose header across the goalmouth found Waugh and... time seemed to stand still as everyone held their breath collectively and, "GOOOOALLLLL!!" there were bodies and limbs flailing all over the place as the Pilgrims number ten crashed the ball home squeezing it through the narrowest of gaps.
There would be no need for a penalty shoot out now.
And agonisingly for Wyberton it was far too late for them to stage yet another comeback now.
FT AET: Immingham Town 3 v Wyberton 2
I wonder what they're hiding in that bin bag?
The final whistle sounded and the Immingham management, subs, committee and noisy travelling supporters converged onto the pitch to celebrate with their winning team.
Though you would need a heart of stone not to feel a great dealof sympathy and compassion towards the beaten finalists, given how much that Wyberton had given of themselves and put into making the game such an excellent spectacle, I reckon that Immingham shaded it in the end, albeit by a margin  of around approximately, 53% to 47% or thereabouts.
Either way, football was the real winner and this game had just about everything you could ask for as a neutral spectator.
Commiserations to Wyberton and congratulations to Immingham Town.