Fitting finale for Lapford Football Club as they progress to Division One
THE curtain was eventually closed on an eventful and successful 2016-2017 season for the boys from Lapford Football Club on Thursday, May 11.
The evening saw the visit of Chagford in a rearranged game following a postponement owing to a waterlogged pitch earlier in the season. Chagford have fought hard and well to get themselves up the league but the result of this game would not change either team’s finishing position.
On a warm evening, the kick-off was scheduled for 7pm and all was set including a large crowd.
The line up for Lapford was: Parsell, Shapland, Phillips (A), Tucker (D), Phillips (J), Stapleton, Tucker (B), Hoskins, Williams, Leach and Tucker (M - captain); Subs: Tickner, John and Buckingham.
Chagford won the toss and opted to play up the hill in the first half. The game kicked off and immediately it was obvious that this would be no end of season stroll, both teams were clearly up for a battle.
Chagford shaded the first 15 minutes without creating much until a lapse of concentration by the Lapford defence allowed the ball to squirm through to the Chagford forward who advanced on the goal.
His shot was magnificently saved by Parsell in the Lapford goal in a one-on-one shoot out.
The resultant corner created some mayhem in the Lapford penalty area but was dealt with and cleared.
Slowly Lapford started to gain control and the chances started to appear. The Chagford goalkeeper was becoming the busiest man on the pitch and had to react quickly to shots from Leach and Stapleton.
On 30 minutes, eventually the deadlock was broken, as a series of attacking throw-ins from Lapford bombarded the Chagford area.
Hoskins missiled one throw in to the back post where the Chagford defence thought they had dealt with it. The ball landed at the feet of Stapleton who jinked past two men and unleashed an unstoppable left footed drive past the giant Chagford ‘keeper who could only parry the ball two-handed into the top left corner to make it 1-0 to Lapford.
The pressure was now beginning to mount on the Chagford team and it clearly showed as in chasing down a clearance, the Chagford centre-half fouled Hoskins and then reacted towards Williams in the sight of the referee and clearly head butted him.
A red card was the only option and it was good night to the offending player.
Still the challenges were going in hard and as half-time approached, firstly a Chagford defender needed treatment for colliding with his own goal post, a swift break by Harry L was brought to an abrupt end as he was barged over in the box as he was about to shoot and then as Mark T went up for a header, he was sandwiched between two aggressive Chagford players.
Thankfully the damage was done to one of the aggressors as his colleagues head collided and caused an open cut. As treatment was being given, the referee blew his whistle for an end to the half.
The management gave the team a positive message to continue the ball playing and not to get involved.
The second half commenced with the injured Chagford player replaced by a substitute.
On 53 minutes as the pressure was being ramped up by Lapford, a break out of defence by Dan T saw him knock the ball left to Harry L who advanced into the left-hand side of the Chagford box.
The ball was crossed and came to Mark T who struck a shot towards the left corner. Was it going in? Well the marauding Dan T made sure as a deft flick knocked the ball into the net for his 13th goal of an excellent season.
More pressure was being placed on the Chagford defence with chances created and on 62 minutes yet another lightening speed break saw Ben T create himself some space and sidestep past a desperate defence before drilling the ball home from 18 yards for 3-0.
The crowd were in raptures and there was more to come from the entertaining and dominant Lapford boys as on 65 minutes the industrious and skilful Dom S, collected the ball in the centre of the pitch and knocked it left to Mark T who teased the defender before placing a cross on the head of Harry L at the back post.
He nonchalantly nodded the ball back across the six-yard box where it was met by the head of Dom S for the fourth goal - 4-0 to Lapford.
Only two minutes more passed before a defensive clearance from Alex S was knocked up the right wing for Harry L to outpace the tiring and dispirited defence before crossing to the ever-ready Mark T to strike home for 5-0.
In the end of a whirlwind six minute period, when the Lapford machine ground down the Chagford team, a sixth goal arrived as Mark T latched onto a through ball before rounding the ‘keeper.
Time to take a breath at 6-0. Changes were made as Harry T came on for Josh W, Rossi J on for Josh P and Matt B on for Alex P. We also saw Mark T take the gloves and swap with Matt P.
Chances came and went as the pressure was unrelenting. Harry L came close several times but could find no way past a good Chagford ‘keeper.
Matt B shouldered a header wide from a Dom S corner but despite the pressure the score remained at 6-0 until the end. The referee blew his whistle and the game and season were brought to a fitting end.
Over the season, this Lapford team have played 26 games, winning 21 and drawing four with only one defeat. The team have conceded only 20 goals scoring 111.
The basis of a successful season is always to win your home games and the home record of 13 games, 12 wins and one draw with 67 scored and only six conceded.
Well done to all, a highly deserved win and another excellent performance over the whole season.
Onwards and upwards to Division One.