Fulham Deaf crowned British Champions in style
Glorious sunshine shone onto Petershill Football Club, Glasgow for this British Deaf Cup final between Fulham Deaf and Luton Deaf.
Fulham Deaf surprised the Deaf football community by reaching the final at their first attempt after defeating Black Country (3 – 2), St John's (3 – 2) and Nottingham (9 – 0) on their way to the final. Luton Deaf disposed of Glasgow St Vincent's' (2 – 2, pens 4 – 2), Leeds (4 – 2 after extra time) and Mary Hare Old Boys (by default) on their route.
A crowd of 100+ gathered in t-shirts and shorts to witness the British Deaf Cup final. At 2.55pm the players walked to the Petershill pitch in two lines. After the ceremonial handshakes between the players, officials and Petershill President & Chairman, both finalists went to their respective half to face each other.
At 3.01, the referee signalled the start of the final, Luton Deaf kicked off with a simple tap forward and an immediate back pass to midfield.
Once Fulham Deaf got the ball in possession for the first time, Nick Beese, Ryan Pendley, Ben Lampert and Andrew Drury kept the ball under control in midfield with the occasional back passes to the back four. The first attack came from Drury who took a quick throw in down the right to Pendley. The ball was crossed straight into Luton's goalkeeper's arms.
Beese, B. Lampert, Drury, Pendley, Richard Jeffers and Rowan Dixon participated with twenty-two passes that went untouched by Luton Deaf who resorted to sliding tackles to win possession of the ball.
An eighth minute B. Lampert's free kick went long to Drury whose header slammed against the crossbar. Two minutes later, Dixon caused confusion in Luton Deaf's box and passed to Jeffers who slotted home from close range. 1 – 0 to Fulham Deaf.
Luton Deaf came back strongly immediately and pushed up the centre of midfield with Jason Gurney the main playmaker.
Andrew Vorster made an excellent clearance staying on his feet after a strong but fair shoulder challenge by Luton Deaf.
With the ball back in play, Vorster, Drury and Dixon moved the ball smoothly down the right touchline to win a corner for Fulham Deaf. Drury headed Dixon's corner wide.
Halfway through the first half, B. Lampert crossed to Drury who headed towards the left hand side of the net only to see Luton Deaf goalkeeper save it with ease.
Seconds later, a B. Lampert's chip to Beese is half volleyed by Beese. The ball clean sailed over the crossbar. It was a clever turn by Beese in losing his marker.
Ayad Sarraf after a wall pass to B. Lampert pushed up midfield down the left but his weak cross is cleared before it could reach Pendley.
On the half hour, Sarraf missed a header unmarked from a B. Lampert's corner. No one followed the loose ball up and Luton Deaf cleared the ball to safety. Minutes later, Beese's header from a Drury's probing cross went over the crossbar.
An excellent through ball by Beese found B. Lampert who shot towards goal. Luton Deaf's goalkeeper saved it but did not catch or flick the ball to safety. Jeffers followed up and scooped the loose ball to double his tally. 2 – 0 to Fulham Deaf.
With seconds ticking away before half time, Pendley broke through on a Dixon's side flick and hit the post from close range. Dixon followed up and saw his shot saved, flicked over the crossbar.
The half-time whistle went and the players disappeared back to the changing rooms. Half time Fulham Deaf 2 – 0 Luton Deaf.
The start of the second half clearly showed Luton Deaf's intentions to get back into the match with Fulham Deaf pinned back inside their own half for the first five minutes. Luton Deaf made numerous runs down the right wing and after a couple of half chances, Fulham Deaf slowly came back to control the second half.
In the fifty-third minute, Fulham Deaf made a series of twenty-seven passes which started from Richard Parker to Oliver Westbury and touched John Docker, Sarraf, Vorster, Pendley, Beese, Dixon and Jeffers. At the end, B. Lampert's cross was just too high for Drury.
From another chance by Fulham Deaf that resulted in Luton Deaf's goalkeeper failing to hold the ball, Pendley missed a close range chance to increase the score.
The fifty-seventh minute after an excellent lay off from Dixon, B. Lampert shot from eighteen yards and Luton Deaf goalie again failed to put the ball to safety. Jeffers followed up and scored an identical goal to his second to record a hat-trick. 3 – 0 to Fulham Deaf.
Neil Fox came on for Jeffers a minute later and quickly won the ball in midfield to flick it to Beese who pushed it through to Dixon. Dixon released a screamer only to see Luton Deaf's goalkeeper produce a great save to flick it over the bar.
Luton Deaf number two is booked for dissent, probably out of frustration, made towards the linesman.
Three minutes past the hour, Luton Deaf's goalkeeper saved a threatening Beese's shot but made a blunder in dropping the ball. B. Lampert flicked the loose ball into the back of the net. 4 – 0 to Fulham Deaf.
Luton Deaf made a substitution with their reserve goalkeeper coming on for their first choice goalkeeper. Fulham Deaf also made a substitution with Dixon off for Kevin Harewood.
Harewood almost opened his account with a fierce shot that curved wide of the right hand post after being put through by Pendley.
Ben Stubbs came on for Vorster with just over twenty minutes to go. Minutes later, B. Lampert dribbled down the right and crossed to Harewood who made a knee length diving header to make it 5 – 0 to Fulham Deaf.
Neil Fox and Ben Stubbs do well in slotting into the system quickly ensuring Fulham Deaf moved up field smoothly alongside Docker, Sarraf, Westbury and Pendley.
With acres of space down the centre, Fulham Deaf pushed up quickly and Harewood added a second in slotting the ball home only five minutes later after scoring his first. 6 – 0 to Fulham Deaf.
Pendley, not giving up to score himself, unleashed a long-range shot that was well saved by Luton Deaf's replacement goalkeeper.
In the last three minutes, Sarraf pushed up into centre of midfield and released Beese down the left. Beese crossed to Harewood who completed the fastest hat trick in Fulham Deaf's short history.
The referee blew the whistle for full-time and Fulham Deaf's celebrations began with handshakes all round.
Christof Niklaus – Fulham Deaf FC Manager's comments:
Wow! It is a fantastic feeling to be crowned British Deaf Champions in our first season. Looking back when we started last June in the Open Trails Day, I never dreamed we would reach the final in our first attempt, let alone win it. I remember we were pushed all the way by Black Country and St John's in the earlier rounds scraping through 3 – 2 twice and now winning the British Deaf Cup made our comebacks all the more worthwhile.
Today, we produced some of our best football in the deaf competitions with excellent possession and chances created. I was also pleased we finally managed to keep a clean sheet since January! I felt we, as a team, took a huge stride forward today and this day will not be forgotten in Fulham Deaf history as the first time we won some silverware. I truly believe this is only the beginning.
My commiserations to Luton Deaf. It just was not to be their day and it was clear tiredness overtook them in the second half. It is pretty hard to keep pushing when 4-0 down with twenty minutes to go. I salute them for their sense of fair play.
I would like to thank Petershill FC for their exceptional kindness and generosity. I'll not forget the congratulations and good wishes we got from by the members of Petershill FC when we went to the members' bar to grab a quick pint before going into town. Thank you Petershill FC.
Final score Fulham DFC 7 – 0 Luton DFC (half time 2 – 0)
Fulham Deaf FC Line up:
Parker, Vorster (Stubbs 69), Westbury, Docker, Sarraf, Beese, Pendley, B. Lampert, Drury, Jeffers (Fox 58), Dixon (Harewood 65)
Fulham Deaf FC Manager