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The Great Escape

8 months ago By Steve Gardener

The season for us is over, and next year we will be once again a Bostik Club

What a dramatic last few weeks of the season culminating in a day where you watch both your phone and the game. Everytime we thought we were going to be relegated, we fought back and nicked some points.
When we thought Norwich were dead and buried, they pulled off some amazing results, AFC Sudbury and Canvey, becoming victims.
The best we could hope for was to take it to the last game, but on the Tuesday with Norwich drawing against Heybridge, and 88 minutes gone, we were relegated with two games to go. Then Heybridge scored a last gasp winner and I forgave them for putting 14 past us in two games this season.

Ball back in our court, and Grays were up next, could we beat them a third time ? The players wee up for it and at 3 nil up, all the groundhoppers were checking bus timetables as this game was finished. But we are Romford, we like to make it hard for ourselves, so we concede 2 goals in the last few minutes so hang on.

Saturday arrives we think in our hearts we can do it, but also wonder is this a step too far. This is the cruel world of non league football, not Roy of the Rovers, or a Disney movie.

As so often this season we let in an early goal. I had tucked my phone away for once, I was not checking any scores, unless we won it was pointless.
Carlos equalized on 17 minutes and interest was renewed. Then someone shouts out Cheshunt have scored, all we need to do is score and hang on, and Cheshunt to park the bus the train and anything else they can find.
They Ayo, the man that can’t stop smiling makes us all smile, we are winning 2-1. Then someone shouts out Cheshunt have scored again. Whilst this sinks in another cheer goes up, Cheshunt are 3 up. As it stands, we are safe.
No one has told Norwich to give up, like they have done so many times this season, like a boxer on the ropes, who summons some inner strength, they pull one back. That’s ok, I don’t mind them getting a consolation goal. As I wonder if we have any end of season cake at at half time, Norwich pull another one back. They are not going to lie down.
A subdued half time as you could see the story being rewritten, anfd within 10 minues of the start Kris Newby who had fired new life into the team hit a cracker to put us 3-1 up………..and Norwich had equalized.

You could almost hear a noise as the air was sucked out the supporters, with one update from Football Web Pages. At least we could finish with a win, so with palyers asking from more noise from the terraces, and an atmosphere we haven’t had for a while, supporters and players set about their respective roles.
Then 5 minutes that almost define what we love and hate in equal measures about this game, Cheshunt scored 2 goals to make it 5 3 , then as the minutes ticked away and became 6-3 it became evident fate was now back in our own hands. So to make it more of a story we conceded a goal with 7 minutes to play. And then to prove he has known all along how this would play out Magic asked the players to make it 4 – 2 and put us out our misery.
Magic stood back, letting the players take the plaudits as Danny Cossington, leading the line as he has all season, walked the length of the pitch shaking hands with all the supporters.

Mutual love and respect was shared, and for me personally so pleased for the manager. No one has been hurting more than him, no one wanted to stay up more than him, and no one was more humble than him.
I left the presentation award that evening at 11pm, with trays of luminous shots on the table and the players in a close circle, together, laughing, looking out for each other, while Magic looked on a few feet away, a small smile on his face. As it should be, and as it has been all season.
Enjoy the summer everyone, you have earnt it.
Steve Gardener

Updated 10:52 - 20 May 2018 by Steve Gardener

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