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Dobblers enter the history books after emphatic cup final triumph

Dobblers enter the history books after emphatic cup final triumph image
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18 April 2012 | ballyjames@yahoo.com

Dobblers overcome an ill-disciplined Spartak in an action packed cup final victory

With the Dobblers unbeaten in 8 games the bookies had them as clear favourites with one offering odds of 1-6 and stating that Dobblers have too much class not to win this one. Pre-match Howlett seemed to agree and was in a confident mood. When asked if his side would be approaching the game any differently. He had this to say:

No not really, cup finals are about keeping a level head and maintaining the status-quo, if we are able to match them for commitment and passion then I have no doubt that the best side will win and the people of Sturton Street will be partying deep into the night. Theres a real buzz and confidence about the side at the moment, I have little doubt that they will step up and deliver

The biggest talking point before kickoff for the Dobblers was who would Howlett pick in his starting 11 as for the first time this season he had a full squad to pick from. At just after 10.00 am the team sheet came in with Howlett no doubt with a heavy heart deciding to go with a 4-1-3-2 formation with Tibbs between the sticks and a back four of Brand, Balmouth, Ball and Howlett, himself at left back. Not surprisingly in front of them was the combative Andreou, with a midfield trio of Young, Cullam and Saxby which offered youth and skill in abundance. Leading the attack Howlett decided that it would be the impressive Bell and Marasca. The bench would then be Hardy, Austin, Karmock, Dunn and Pratten. The trio of Hardy, Austin and Karmock being extremely unlucky not to start having had such amazing seasons and playing such a huge part in this seasons campaign.

The game punctually kicked off at 10.30 in front of a packed crowd, the biggest Soham Town had seen this season. Somewhat predictably the game got off to an explosive start with the first few challenges being blown up for fouls with neither side prepared to back down in the early exchanges. As the game began to settle down the Dobblers began to dominant and show their class, with Howletts decision to play a narrow midfield allowing the quartet to break up play and release quick Ball into the channels for Bell and Marasca who as the game went on terrorised the dodgy looking back four. The deserved break through then game mid way through the half when an expertly delivered in swinging corner from Saxby flew directly in giving the Dobblers a deserved lead and sending the crowd wild. The Dobblers didnt have to wait long before they doubled their lead with Saxby grabbing his second and what a second it was at that. A ball in from the right finding the winger on the edge of the box, one touch then smash into the bottom corner. Dobblers were really starting to dominant now with Spartak limited to a couple of half chances and with one of the best defences in the league they hardly looked troubled. Just before the break the Dobblers made it three with Cullum saying anything you can do I can do better with the sweetest of strikes from the edge of the box. 3-0 and the Dobblers were in dream land and it seemed that now it was just a case of how many the Dobblers would win by.

The second half kicked off much the same as the second, in explosive style with Spartak flying into every challenge. Credit to them as they seemed to refuse to accept the inevitable gulf in class and decided an even more aggressive approach might give them half a chance. But their frustration and petulance somewhat predictable began to show. When out of nowhere the spartak centre half after having been skinned for what must have been the 12 time of the game snapped and in a coming together stupidly head butted the Dobblers forward in front of the assistant referee. The Ref had no other choice but to show red and the volatile Spartak seemed to be imploding. If being down to 10 wasnt bad enough the ref reduced them down to 9 shortly after in another moment of madness. When on the hour the feisty red headed midfielder whos contribution to date had only been a series of late tackles and miss timed headers maliciously and callously stamped down on Dobblers Hardys hand after the defender yet again got the better of him in 50-50 tackle. Shameful stuff from Spartak on such a huge occasion for both sides, their lack of discipline was clear for all to see. Perhaps the lad had heard from his mate how good the showers were and fancied an early bath himself after being on the receiving end of a footballing master class but only he will know why he chose to let his team down so badly. But this lack of discipline is evident throughout the Spartak team something they must address for the future.

3-0 down and down to 9 men, Howlett rang the changes and it seemed to be a matter of seeing out the game and possibly a case of how many the Dobblers would win by. But strangely and too their credit Spartak refused to accept defeat and coupled with the Dobblers dropping down a gear or two the game actually swung in Spartaks favour. With them at last getting into the Dobblers half and getting first to the ball. And with just under 20 minutes to go the Spartak sub produced a complete worldly goal to beat Tibbs at his back post. 3-1 and a few Dobblers hearts began to flutter. Further disaster then struck and what seemed to be a foregone conclusion seemed to be slipping away when shortly after coming on Dobblers Austin fell to the ground in agony after falling awkwardly. The midfield maestro has been quality all season and this cruel twist of fate seemingly ending his season seemed so unfair. Everyone will have their fingers crossed that hes back playing again soon.

It was now time for clear heads and calmness as Dobblers really needed to dig deep to see out the remainder of this game. Somewhat poetically it fell to another Dobblers substitute to ease the nerves as Karmock who had looked busy and dangerous since he came on coolly finishing on the turn to make it 4-1 to the mighty Dobbs and rapturous applause from the Dobblers crowd.
With only a few minutes to go Spartak were lucky not to be down to 8 when the unpredictable and volatile captain was only booked for hurling a tirade of abuse at the official. The ref perhaps feeling sorry for him at the clear frustration the captain was in at being confined to his opposite number and Dobblers captain Balls back pocket for the entire game.

In what seemed like an eternity of injury time the ref finally blew the whistle and the deserved victory was complete. Fantastic stuff from everybody in what will be a day remembered by all and the Dobblers confirming their place in the history books and completing their destiny of being the greatest Dobblers side in history.

Some incredible performances from every single player from back to front, everyman played out of his skin. There was no question who the best team was, but man of the match goes to Brand just from Saxby so well done to him and everyone one of the Dobblers boys. You made us proud.





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