U.C.L. Academicals Football Club

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Crouch End Vampires 1 UCL Academicals 1 UCL Academicals win 4-2 on penalties

In pretty filthy conditions at Old Parkonians on Saturday 15th April, UCL Academicals outbattled Crouch End Vampires (picking up three cautions to their none) and the boys ran themselves into the ground before winning a tense shoot-out.

Nil-nil at half time, with Austin McBride carried off and Gareth Jones having risen from the grave to play up front, Neil Gillard put us into the lead fifteen minutes into the second half with a bullet-header from a corner. Cue our worst period of play, and ten minutes later an equalising goal from a penalty almost saved by Mark Dawson, undeserved for the solid back three of Neil Shrimpton, Dan Chantler and Martin Woodrow.

In between Gareth had limped off, his knee giving way in sympathy to his striking partner, but the Accies, with Daws making key saves held on for extra time. In extra time the Accies struggled, and relied again on Daws to keep the door shut, though Terry Foster almost broke through one on one being denied by a questionable refereeing decision, Jon Delaney almost broke through on overlaps and Steve Hair, aided by Steve Murden, Jez Smith and Steve Nash, who'd run himself into the ground, battled superbly to hold the fort together.

With ten minutes to go it became a battle to reach penalties, with the Accies exhausted - at one point a "team cramp call" led to four members collapsing with cramp at the same time, and Lee Pessall on the sideline - reduced to a frozen wreck, desperate for all to stay on the pitch.

Finally the end of time: plenty of willing penalty takers, and a strong feeling of it being "our day". Crouch End win the toss, and blast their first penalty sky high. Neil Gillard sends the keeper the wrong way. Their second is slotted home, then Steve Hair matches it. Their third is also buried, but Steve Murden sends the keeper the wrong way after the longest penalty run-up you've ever seen to maintain the one penalty advantage. Then Daws saves their fourth, setting Terry up to slot the winner.

And the rest is history.........