AN INCREDIBLE run of 16 consecutive victories clinched the Young Elizabethan League, Sunday First Division title for magnificent HUCKNALL SPORTS UNDER-11S.
Despite their impeccable form, Sports still needed something from their last match to ward off second-placed Dunkirk Colts.
But they hammered third-placed AFC Vernon Colts Red 5-1 to cap a memorable season — and their second champions’ crown in three years.
Amazingly, Sports took only one point from their opening two games. But they showed against Vernon how much they have improved, battling back from going a goal down as early as the sixth minute when a glancing header gave ‘keeper Kieran Johnson no chance.
Three minutes later, they equalised when George Butler played a pinpoint ball into the path of Tom Poole, who beat the offside trap before sidestepping the ‘keeper.
And just before half-time, they edged in front when Rob Taylor spotted the run of Poole, who shrugged off a defender to fire a piledriver into the bottom corner.
Sports were soon on the attack again in the second half and made it 3-1 when the deftest of headers from Travis Shooter diverted home a shot by Liam Cartledge.
Both Kyeron Daws and Poole were then denied by a post before a fourth goal when Shooter headed home a cross by Poole. The points — and the title — were sealed moments later as Daws twisted past defenders before supplying a cool finish.
Three days earlier, Sports had beaten Beeston Centurions Orange 3-0 thanks to two more goals from Poole and one more from Shooter, not to mention a man-of-the-match performance by Thomas Spice.
Poole had his side in front after only seven minutes when shooting home a cross by captain Nathan Gascoigne.
Shooter then struck a post and Poole missed a penalty before making amends when firing his second goal into the top corner in the 24th minute.
With Sports bossing midfield and also solid at the back, they completed the victory on 51 when Shooter was on hand to drive home a loose ball after Gascoigne’s shot had been well saved.
n OUR PHOTO shows the triumphant Sports squad — (from left) Back Row: Darryl Pincott (coach), Nathan Savage, Ryan Richards, Neil Shooter (manager), Kieran Johnson, George Butler, Tom Poole, Steve Richards (assistant manager), Rob Taylor. Front Row: Travis Shooter, Liam Cartledge, Josh Shipham, Thomas Spice, Blaine Pincott, Nathan Gascoigne, Lewis Rigley-Phoenix and Kyeron Daws.