Kirkham & Wesham 2 Lowestoft Town 1
In contrast to the cold conditions with driving rain for last seasons final, we had the most fantastic day with temperatures threatening 30 degrees for this years contest. I always find myself reminiscing about earlier rounds and it’s certainly been another eventful campaign. A postponement in Crowborough, early summer in Merstham, strong winds at Hungerford & Needham Market, I’ve experienced all four seasons. Great food at Merstham & Rothley Imperials, lunch at a station for Concord Rangers, again it’s been the good, bad ^ ugly. Great comebacks at Shrivenham & Merstham twice, the football has never been dull. The final lived up to its billing with Kirkham finishing off a truly great season. It was great to sit near the fountains at Wembley watching children & some adults cavorting in the water on a fabulous summer like afternoon. It would have been even better if the beer hadn’t cost £3.50 for a small bottle of Fosters, outrageous and Wembley should be ashamed of ripping people off. Wembley had told me that tickets would not be available on the day, the FA told me they would. So I was a little apprehensive during my journey, fortunately the FA were indeed correct. I was about to buy my £20 ticket when a Lowestoft fan offered to sell me hers as she’d managed to obtain a VIP ticket. She sold me the ticket at a £5 discount and it turned out to be a great seat near the half way line. The pitch looked immaculate as did the whole of Wembley stadium. It’s certainly a stadium that takes your breath away. Despite the obligatory ‘Mexican wave’ the whole game was hugely enjoyable.
I had no idea which way this was going to go,` although I felt that Kirkham’s name might just be on the trophy. I had no idea just how late they would leave it. Lowestoft started the stronger and took the lead on 9 mins. A deep cross from the left touchline caught a Kirkham defender in two minds, in attempting to clear he headed it past his own keeper. Lowestoft seemed content to sit on their lead playing a defensive 4-1-4-1 formation. They were effectively attacking only on the break, the majority of the match from this point was played in Lowestoft’s own half. A fascinating tactical battle was being played out although, despite a couple of miraculous escapes with woodwork being hit and last gasp blocks being made, it looked like Lowestoft would hold on. But on 84 mins, a ball down the left channel caught a defender on the wrong side, the ball was squared to Walwyn who took a nice first touch and buried it past the keeper from 9 yards. From then on, there was only likely to be one winner although extra time seemed inevitable. But 30 seconds before the end of stoppage time, Kirkham beat an increasingly high up the pitch offside trap, a 1 on 1 resulted in the ball being played to Walwyn and with the keeper being taken out of the game, he scored easily.
A fitting climax to another season, I can’t wait for next seasons draw.