Match Report by: Chris Darwen
The Estadio Municipal Francisco Bonet buzzed as the town of Almuñécar flocked to see the crowning of their new footballing champions. A win against CF Motril B would guarantee CD Almuñécar City the 3a Andaluza (Granada) title and promotion into the next division up.
City were able to welcome back Saurav Gopalkrishnan from his trial with Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters and he slotted into central defence alongside Ivan. Tomas Basualdo moved into midfield where Esteban Vigo started ahead of Sandro Canale in the only other change from the 9-0 win over Orgiva a fortnight previously.
City settled quickly, taking possession of the ball and looking in control. After 12 minutes, Tre Hayes found space on the right and was able to cross low and hard. His strike partner Diego Alessandri was on hand to score the game’s opening goal. Confidence was high in the CDAC team and this, surprisingly, led to Motril B being gifted an equaliser. A double mistake from Adam Spinks and then Ivan allowed Perez to level the game.
Motril were not on level terms for long, however. Ivan quickly atoned for his error, heading home brilliantly from a Kasper Mikkelsen corner – yet another set-piece goal for Almuñécar this season. Two became three after 38 minutes, with Adam Spinks breaking free on the right and picking out Tre Hayes in the area. Hayes, unmarked, thumped his header into the far corner. City were starting to look good, and Sean Morris was able to add a 4th just before half-time meaning Almuñécar led Motril 4-1 at the break.
Five minutes into the second period, a quick break found Morris on the edge of the area, slightly to the right hand side. He fired a bullet of a shot, swerving and dipping that thundered off the bar. Before the bar had stopped reverberating, the ball was back with Morris who tucked home his second and CDAC‘s 5th of the game.
Another lapse of concentration in defence saw Motril pull another one back, but the game was never going to turn. Tre Hayes was sent chasing down the channel and drove into the penalty area. Unsure which of the three fouls on him to call, the referee chose the final one and awarded a penalty. Tomas Basualdo slotted home, the keeper electing to stand still.
With seconds remaining, the best goal of the game was scored in a fitting finale to Almuñécar winning the title. Canale, on as substitute, dropped deep and played the ball wide to Spinks. Spinks chased on and managed to wrap his foot around a cross into the middle. Canale hadn’t stopped moving and timed his arrival to perfection, heading the ball home at full stretch. With that, the final whistle went.
To win a group of just 12 teams with 5 games remaining is nothing short of remarkable, no matter what the level. To do it having changed 90% of the squad over the winter break makes it even more so. Huge credit has to go to George Jermy, the coaching staff and the players for giving the town of Almuñécar a winning football team in their first season.
However, a club needs more than 11 footballers to be successful and special thanks have to go to many others. As the season has gone on, a small team of helpers has grown into a slightly bigger team of helpers and without the likes of Pippa, Kath, Jose, Paco and Dani helping on the gate and merchandising table then there wouldn’t be people wearing club scarves on matchday. Without the club’s official ballboy, young Charlie, the opposing goalkeeper would be getting even more tired having to fetch the ball each time. Fernando of La Ventura taking the initiative to print posters means that in the week leading up to matchday everybody in town can see that there is a game coming up soon. The joy on the faces of the newly formed peña made the victory feel even better.
In moments like these it easy to forget that there is still work to be done. CD Almuñécar City do have five matches remaining this season, three of which are home matches. There are two goals remaining – to score 100 goals and to get 300 people in the stadium watching the side play.
Can we make this happen?