Pannal Sports 2 Town U-16s 3
Otley Town U-16s travelled to last year's champions Pannal Sports, knowing a victory could clinch them the Harrogate League title. However, with four other sides, including Pannal all in with a chance of winning it, anything was still possible.
The game itself started brightly. Otley put the home side under early pressure. Two quick corners from Eder Ruiz caused the home defence a whole heap of problems.
The visitors were certainly well on top until an attack for the home side saw Pannal take the lead following a corner of their own.
Not to be knocked out of their stride, Otley stormed back and equalised from yet another Ruiz corner, Jimmy Garner Currie rising highest to head home via a wicked deflection.
The high temp game continued throughout an enthralling first-half, with both sides playing their part in what was fast becoming a real classic - Josh Waite and Alex Lunn, two towering figures in the Otley midfield.
With the two teams level at the break, Pannal took the game to their rivals and came close to taking the lead.
Then a flowing move, down the right involving Otley's Declan Kelly and Adam Cockerham created a chance for Ruiz. His low left foot drive into the bottom corner of the net had the Otley support in raptures.
Pannal stormed back and mid-way through the half drew level. A cross from their right evaded the Otley defence and the ball was stabbed home from close range. At this stage it was certainly anyone's match, with both sides attacking at will.
Then came the game's decisive moment and a goal that will live long in the memory. A through ball to the feet of the lively Daniel Jagger saw him taken down and so offering a free-kick opportunity some 30 yards out. Ruiz took several steps back and unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top of the net. A trully wonderful goal and one worthy of winning any match.
However, Otley had to endure what seemed the longest ten minutes of their season, as Pannal piled on the pressure in search of another equaliser. But after negotiating more than a few nervous moments, the referee finally blew time on a titanic encounter between two good, well-matched sides.
At the final whistle, jublilation ensued on hearing the news that title contenders Whinmoor and Knaresborough had drawn and so confirming Otley as champions for 2007.