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Lonsdale were in pole position to win the title going into the game, needing only a point to secure victory. Fellow contenders Bowland needed a four goal victory of their own and a Grizedale win to steal the title, yet Lonsdale’s result meant the crown would belong to them this season.
The terrible pitch conditions ensured a dull and uneventful first half with the game tempo being dragged down by the boggy pitch. However, Lonsdale soon overcame this and came alive in the second half of the game to show why they thoroughly deserved to be champions. A penalty from Leon Vaughan and a fantastic solo effort from striker Josh Duggan gave Lonsdale the victory and their first league title in five years.
Lonsdale looked the better team at the start of the game forcing three corners in the first five minutes. It was clear that Grizedale were going to put up a stiff resistance and a fantastic tackle in the Lonsdale box by Lewis Sutherland stopped an early chance for Grizedale. By the half hour mark both sides looked equal, with attacks from both teams being hampered by a poor final ball. Grizedales’ best opportunity came when a man broke through on the left forcing keeper Matt Woods out of the net to make a goal saving interception. The tightness of the half was made even more apparent when exactly the same thing happened at the other end, as Josh Duggan had to be closed down by Grizedale keeper Jack Kenny. Chances on both sides began to unfold but a mis-hit shot by Chris Floodgate in a one on one with the keeper in the 42nd minute summed up the dismal half of football on display.
This was soon to change in the second half, when a rampant Lonsdale team took the game by storm. Chances came immediately in the first five minutes with Grizedale being caught in possession in their own box and the resulting shot tipping over the crossbar. This early pressure manifested itself into a goal in the 50th minute when John Purkis was fouled in the box. Leon Vaughan stepped up to slot home the penalty placing the ball straight down the middle. The second goal eventually came in the 65th minute when a fantastic solo run in to the box by Josh Duggan after a perfectly placed pass was unable to be intercepted by the Grizedale defenders, and Duggan was able to slot the ball into the bottom right corner. Lonsdale looked like going 3-0 up when John Purkis’s pass found goal scorer Leon Vaughan with an open goal in front of him. Unbelievably, Vaughan was unable to find the net and his shot went wide. Lonsdale’s other goal scorer Josh Duggan, was also presented with a glaring opportunity when his shot was saved by keeper Jack Kenny in a one on one. The final whistle blew with a 2-0 victory to Lonsdale.
Lonsdale’s beaming captain Dom Keely said of the league victory and his teammates, ‘I’m not one to gloat. I’m proud of them, we’ve put in a lot of hard work and it’s paid off’, whilst his teammates praised his ‘inspirational’ team talks. The ecstatic team celebrated in style with a ceremonial slide into the mud. Next week sees the start of the Inter-College Cup. After their fantastic victory in the league Lonsdale will go into the competition with high hopes.