There will be plenty of sore heads in Addick households this morning. Our end-of-season party was pretty much perfect. Everyone invited turned-up, including our guests who made a fantastic effort both on and off the pitch. The club made a huge effort, too, and our team was not going to be denied the victory which saw us join an elite group of eight other sides who have broken the 100 points in-a-season barrier.
The Rose of Denmark was practically empty by 2.30 as everyone piled into the ground to listen to the various singers and to see parachutists drop onto the pitch. We actually saw them swinging over the Lower Road as we approached the Antigallican. The Hartlepool Smurf Army had also departed the pub early to join the party, so I didn't actually get to congratulate any of them for a brilliant effort, although I am guessing they weren't short of attention and compliments during the day.
Chris Powell obviously thought very carefully about team selection for today. He picked the players who had done the most for the club over the season and he gave Jason Euell a place on the bench so he could make his Valley farewell. That meant Leon Cort stepped out of the side to allow Matt Taylor a deserved appearance. Stephens and Hollands were paired in midfield with Johnnie Jackson and Scott Wagstaff on the wings. Upfront, predictably, were Wright-Phillips and Kermorgant.
Hartlepool were under orders not to be sacrificial lambs and they made sure were had to up our game to beat them. They matched us in the first-half and deservedly lead by the only goal at half-time. After the break the match drifted on for another twenty minutes before the disappointing Wagstaff was withdrawn for a more attacking emphasis with Bradley Pritchard providing the determination and drive required to win the match.
The equaliser came from a Danny Hollands header and Danny Haynes followed up minutes later with a classy finish to put the Addicks in control. The travelling Smurfs were finally silenced as the Valley faithful found their voice and began the celebrations. With the ground buzzing, Yann Kermorgant scored a fantastic looking goal which was so good that I immediately put it down to a flukey cross. On second viewing though, I may have been a little hasty. There was no obvious back-post target for a cross and it looks like he sized the dipping volley before striking it. No doubt he will tell us if it was a mis-hit, but it looked brilliant either way and was a fitting finish to the season's scoring. Gary Liddle pulled one back at the end to give the scoreline a more realistic reflection of the game.
To a man we then stayed behind for what seemed like ages as a stage was carefully erected in front of the East Stand and we made a meal of handing Chris Powell the trophy. I was again impressed by the United fans, a good number of whom stayed on to applaud our efforts. How to win friends and influence people. They will always be welcomed in this part of south-east London.
The Con Club did a roaring trade after the game as, I am sure, did all the others. As always, it was good to see Chicago Addick & Son before and after. I managed a couple of pints later on in the Rose of Denmark with the Cognoscenti before deciding it was time to dream of what might be possible next season.