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Sheffield United Junior Blades clinched promotion to the North East League Premier Division in the most dramatic style possible with a last gasp winner against Beverley Town.
The permutations were simple - Blades win and they are promoted, Beverly win and they are promoted, draw and Castleford White Rose are promoted.
Understandably, both sides started very nervously with not many chances in an evenly matched first half, neither team wanting to make the first mistake.
Slightly against the run of play, the Blades went in front on 44 minutes when a cross-cum-shot from Lucy Ridley looped over the keeper in to the top corner. Beverley immediately replied when two defenders hesitated in the six yard box allowing the equaliser.
The Blades came off as though they had been relegated but an inspiring and rousing team talk from the usually calm and calculated coach Richard and Ian's usual rant lifted the spirit.
The Blades made an enforced substitution with Rachael Barlow concussed from an early challenge. With four first team regulars missing, Gemma Garbett was drafted into the centre of defence for the first time in her life but looked a natural as the game progressed.
The second half saw the Blades on the offensive with Beverley constantly counter attacking, Clare Keats making an outstanding save in the bottom corner keeping the score level. The game was heading for stalemate until the 80th minute when Beverley took the lead from a corner. Rather than lie down and die the Blades rallied, the usual 4-1-3-1-1 system was abandoned going to 4-3-3. Captain Ali Cutting pushed forward with Jade Rabjohn and 16-year-old Paris Wagstaff, in from the Under-18s replacing Nicola Masling whose hold up play had been impressive all game despite her long standing injury lay off, on the wings while Tara Madeley and Bianca Ross supported Ridley up front.
On 88 minutes the pressure paid off, a free kick from the left edge of the box by Ross beat the keeper but was headed off the line, the resulting mayhem in the area saw the ball drop nicely to Jade Rabjohn who rifled in from 10 yards, the hardest shot little Jade has ever hit, nearly taking the pegs out.
A delirious crowd were willing the girls on but the title was heading to Castleford. It was now or never with full backs Katie Waymouth and Bridie Pitsch joining the attack, leaving the imaculatly calm Jen Burke and Garbett alone at the back.
In injury time, Bianca Ross mesmerised the defence with her trademark dropped shoulder, dribble, step over, dummy, to get into the area to feed Lucy Ridley who toe-ended the ball into the corner of the net for her 23rd goal of the season and most vital.
Only time to take the kick off and its over in the most dramatic style possible, two promotions in the three year existence of the Blades - a great achievement and a wonderful team ethic a mention to the missing players captain Kathryn Mudge, Laura Crutchley, Michelle Upton, Jenny Selman, Lucy Foreman, Laura Watton, Carlie Norton, Emily Stancer, Grace Keane and Physio John who have all made a major contribution to the season.
23-goal Lucy Ridley said afterwards: "It's unbelievable, I only started playing again to get fit after having a baby and we win the league, hope my hubby is happy with baby sitting duties next season."
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