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LINE London lift trophy after narrow victory

This post first appeared on the LINE blog on 19th December 2011.

Celebrations sparked out all over the Capital last night as LINE London emerged 11-9 winners over Sheffield in the inter-office football match at the Westway Sports Centre.

Played shortly before LINE’s Christmas party, it was the most hotly anticipated festive battle between rivals since the Christmas game in the trenches in 1914. Playing in honour of his military ancestors was Major Roy Evans. He might have shocked his forebears, however, when he controversially switched sides from Sheffield to London to even the numbers. The home team would have struggled without him as Nigerian international, Niyi Ademosu, was still getting changed at kick-off.

The Northerners looked the more organised of the sides for much of the game with the captain, Sam Lydiat, marshalling his troops with great efficacy. They deservedly took the lead as young Jonathan Connelly finished a well worked move, but the Southerners reply wasn’t long in coming as Ed Lines scored from a tight angle to make it 1-1.

Like a closely contested boxing match, blows were exchanged as Sheffield kept taking a one goal lead, only to be pinned back moments later by their rivals.

The goal of the match came from the right boot of Lee Newheiser who fired a powerful, curling shot from the halfway line into the top right corner, past the outstretched arms of Jon Fagence to make it 6-5.

Heroic defensive work from Bartek Wildak and David Howard for London and Sheffield respectively prevented a larger scoreline. Skilful footwork from Tanzeel Ayub echoed the magic of Jimmy Hagan and Rick Morice’s powerful strikes were not pleasant to defend as the unfortunate Jon Fagence discovered when displaying immense bravery to block a 100mph pile driver with his stomach.

The media often talk about the big game players, someone that the team can rely upon when the chips are down. London found that man in the form of Tim Woodward. With the tiring Sheffield defence, Woodward grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and began to dictate play from the midfield. He found space where seemingly was none and created a host of goals and assists that put the game beyond the travelling side.

In the last move of the game, Ademosu worked hard on the left wing, tackling strongly to allow Lines to score the decisive goal courtesy of a cruel deflection to end the game 11-9.

London lays claim to the bragging rights this time but Sheffield will be eagerly booking the rematch on Northern soil from where they will no doubt launch their comeback.

Teams

London: N Ademosu, T Woodward, J Fagence, B Wildak, R Evans, E Lines (c)

Sheffield: D Howard, J Connelly, R Morice, T Ayub, L Newheiser, S Lydiat (c)