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An awful start to the season in the pre-season tournament with a 6-2 defeat by LS1.  Will grabs a decent brace but with only 10 players (plus Phil Curry's 15 year old mate), the Ammers take a battering.  Things quickly improve however with a thumping 9-2 win over Old Ball (though Scrapper bags goals at both ends) and a 4-4 draw with Lawnswood Rangers taking us into the quarters, which saw us bow out to Highwood Hotel on penalties though we did put in a hard-working performance to draw 0-0 after 90 minutes.  We also find out that Lee Maddison is fined heavily and suspended for 'continuing misconduct'.  He is therefore next available for selection on December 3rd, 2018.
After an instantly forgettable defeat by Park Hotel in our last friendly where the only highlight is a great goal from Ben, the season starts on 27th with a comfortable 3-1 win over new boys Thorner.   Franny, upon his return to the side following his round the world exploits, gets the 1st Ammers goal of the league season, lobbing the onrushing keeper early doors and the win is sealed by further close range strikes by Ben and Mark Benson (remember him?).  I get an early season back injury caused by aquaplaning on Will's steps to his flat - rumours that the manager had watered them deliberately prove unfounded.  Phil Curry also meets his fiancée at the annual Ammers do (whilst p****d at the Walkabout).
Ammers' good start to the new campaign continues with a 1-1 draw with last year's promotion chasers Fox & Hounds, which could have ended in victory if late chances had been converted, this following Rees' equaliser straight from a corner.  Also, Jay almost scores direct from a kick out.  The next match sees what is the best Ammers performance this season to date, totalling demolishing Summerbridge Reserves 4-0.  Franny grabs 2 including another lob and with other goals from Dermot and Phil, a comfortable win is sealed.  Flapper is man of the match with an accomplished display, including 48 "aways!!".
Next up is a closely fought 3-2 win at New Inn, capped by a great goal from Will who curls in a beauty from outside the box, so to speak.  Earlier goals by Dermot and Phil ensure a Pudsey victory, although Jason waves a last minute free kick straight into the net to give us the jitters.  Following a bye in the first round of the Jubilee Cup, Pudsey entertain Cockbeck in round 2 on the 17th.  After we take the lead three times, the game goes to penalties following my pat-a-cake own goal in extra time (Farm Stores of the season contender A).  However, I redeem myself (I hope) by saving the last penalty to see Pudsey through.  We round off the month with another penalty competition, this time seeing off the spirited Works from Division 4 in the Ackrill Cup after a 4-4 draw.  The highlight here is a 35-yard thunderbolt (I'm getting the commentator's phrasebook out now) from Chops.  Again I waft at a corner for a late equaliser but again I save one in the shoot-out to see us through (not that I'm blowing my own trumpet or anything!!).
The month starts with a 2-2 draw with a decent Mile Post side.  Mile Post take a 2-0 lead before late strikes from Phil and Cato gain Pudsey a point.  This against the 'best keeper in the league' according to their striker.  Following this is our worst display of the season to date, away at Wakeman in the Supplementary Cup.  With no official ref an Ammers goal is controversially disallowed by the only offside given all day by their suspect linesman, and we lose 4-3 at the death in extra time when a cross goes straight in, watched admiringly by the Ammers defence plus me.  We get an early indication of the awful weather to come the following week when the Jubilee 3rd round game with Leeds Grasshoppers is postponed, though only after we turn up and they didn't bother to ring us.  Next up a comprehensive 4-1 defeat to Ripon City Magnets from Division 2 in the Ackrill Cup.  A solitary Dermot strike is our only consolation against a strong side.  The last game of the month away to Boroughbridge Reserves is called off.
The first three games of the month are called off for differing reasons, the league fixtures at home to Thorner and away at Knaresborough for waterlogged pitches, the last away at Grasshoppers in the Jubilee because they are suspended for non-payment of fines.  Allegations that they sent all their payments due to the league representative, an S White of Farsley, have been totally denied.  We find out later in the week that we get a bye to the 4th round.  The last game of the month sees our 1st league defeat, 3-1 at home to a young Wetherby side, who take better advantage of a swirling wind going down the slope on the Theatre of Dreams.  Pudsey's goal comes from Baz.
We start the month on a positive note, with a 2-0 victory against Knaresborough Town at home.  Goals from Paul K. and Paggio pave the way for the Ammers success, the latter being an excellent 40 yard run and finish (" I waited until I could see the whites of the keeper's eyes before I slotted it past him" says Nick).  All this after we only have 10 men for the entire 1st half going up hill, with Franny having been delayed by copious amounts of birthday beer.  We also have the luxury of Ben missing a penalty. 
We follow this up with a convincing 5-1 win over Boroughbridge Reserves.  A long range belter by Will is followed by 2 Jason Lupton strikes plus goals from Nick (doing a fine impersonation of Hitler - ask Sean!!) and dancing Danny Buckle, who ignores strong offside pleas (from his own players) to net the fifth.  Jason misses a golden opportunity for a hat trick when he blazes over an open goal, the ball apparently landing in Dave Fowler's back garden.  At half time, Rees has to dash off to see the birth of his baby boy.  Pudsey then go on to play a lot better in the second period.  The match might not have gone ahead following the "we have priority 'cos we're in the County Cup" debacle with Pudsey Royal, who try to nick our pitch because theirs is waterlogged.  The dispute is finally resolved when, having consulted Rule 15a, paragraph b, subsection d, line 5 of the rule book it is confirmed that Royal are indeed talking b******s. 
A disappointing 2-1 defeat by Shoulder of Mutton in the Jubilee Cup rounds off the year.  Ammers take the lead with an opportunistic Dermot strike when he intercepts a back pass, but two goals in a second half totally dominated by the visitors means Pudsey are now only left in 1 of the 4 cup competitions they started out in.  Do greater things await in the new year following a topsy turvy 2000?
The new year starts with the news that our nearest and dearest rivals Maccabi have resigned from the League.  All of Pudsey goes into mourning.  A pretty dismal performance follows against Mens Catholic Club Reserves, who only turn up at Queen's Park with 10 men.  Pudsey take a firm grip early on with easy goals from Ben and Paul, but with their keeper in good form it stays 2-0 into the second half, where within 15 minutes of the restart we are hauled back to 2-2 following two long punts over the top.  The gaffer however grabs the win for us when he heads home Scrapper's pinpoint last minute corner.  The only real highlight comes when Nick tries to 'do a Sean' by attempting to clear the ball with a scissors kick, only to miss it completely and fall flat on his backside.  The next game away to unbeaten Wetherby Athletic is called off due to a frozen pitch.  The New Inn home match also falls victim to frost. 
The following week we entertain Thorner after the pitch passes an early morning inspection (by me).  A fairly comfortable 3-1 win results, with the quickest goal of the season from Will (officially timed at around 40 seconds) when the keeper drops his cross into his own net.  Soon after Nick makes it two with a carefully placed shot through the keeper's legs, even though he was actually aiming for the far corner.  Thorner pull one back when Jay, evidently feeling sorry for their strikers, lets a trickler go straight through his legs.  Quite rightly he blames his defenders.  Franny seals the win in an uneventful second half when the keeper's clearance hits him and trickles in.  Paul K. does however come within a coat of paint of scoring a wonder goal when he waltzes through half their team before shooting across the keeper but off the post as well.  I referee the game with a faultless display (!), though I've reported Nick to the league for constant whinging.
Blizzard conditions prevent our game at Knaresborough going ahead on 4th.  My superb directions (I got them from the league handbook, honest) get us to within 2 minutes of Mens Catholic Club Reserves' ground the following week when we get the call that the game is off.  This is because their 1st team have stolen the majority of the reserve team to play in their fixture (though they still lost 11-1 to Sherwood!).  We therefore have to wait another week before we can play a game. 
Winless New Inn are the next visitors to fortress Queen's Park and take a pasting 6-1.  We settle down quickly on a difficult surface and take a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes, the first from Chops who runs onto a shinned pass from Nick (not the inch-perfect wonder ball he made out at the time!!) before slotting it in and the second from Franny who lobs the keeper when he hesitates on a through ball.  Franny completes his hat-trick before half time, both with deflections falling his way.  The actual hat-trick goal comes off his shin before looping over the defender on the line - quality finishing!!  Into the second half and New Inn go down to 10 men when they bring on their only sub but the keeper goes off injured.  We have to wait half an hour for our next goal though when Scrapper heads in a pinpoint Rees cross.  New Inn pull one back late on but right at the end Scrapper gets upended and, on sentimental grounds (i.e. people still wore flares and kipper ties when he last scored) Sean is allowed to take the resultant penalty which he duly puts away.  Again, not a great performance but easily good enough to win.  Franny manages to grab a headline in the Evening Post the following Wednesday, they call him New Inn' s "chief destroyer"!!
The following match away at Boroughbridge Reserves is possibly the worst Ammers performance in our history - and we've had a few.  Richie and Franny score but we let in nine at the other end.  I realise we are in for a bad day when I slice a back pass leading to their first goal and also beautifully chest the ball down for their striker to score the 7th (I think).  In between we are mostly second to the ball and extremely lacklustre.  Not surprisingly I don't want to dwell on this game!!  Perhaps the wake up call we needed?  Only time will tell.
The home match with Knaresborough in the Challenge Shield on 4th gets postponed due to snow/frost.  The following week the foot and mouth outbreak affects our league with the news that Fox & Hounds, among others, cannot play at home as their pitch is quarantined.  We therefore play our away game with them at Queen's Park.  In a very tight match Fox & Hounds deservedly edge this battle of the top two 1-0 with a goal twenty minutes or so from time.  Jay produces a man of the match performance to ensure the game remains close.  Having said that, we are denied at least one penalty by a dodgy ref ("Hi guys") who, when Franny's ankles take a battering in the penalty area after turning inside the last defender, says the contact was 'accidental' - which of course means absolutely nothing.  This win sees our opponents move 3 points clear at the top.  However, with the impending resignation of Mens Catholic Club Reserves, we will be back on level points as Fox had played them twice and ourselves just the once.  It's all in the balance&
It would have been good to play Mile Post on 18th to try and get 2 consecutive defeats out of our system but because of their cup run the game is postponed.  Things don't get any better though the following week as we go down to our third straight defeat, 3-1 to Knaresborough Town.  We dominate the first half but go in 1 behind.  By the time Franny curls a shot in the game is already over, with us left to rue several missed chances.  Highlight of the match comes when Nick pulls off a wonder turn to be met with the comments of "nice skills" by the admiring ref!!  We later find out that we would not be able to exact revenge on Knaresborough in the Challenge Shield as this competition has been cancelled due to fixture backlogs.  However, the new Pudsey Amateurs web site is created and updated by me so that the world can look on in awe.
We finally get back to winning ways the following week on April Fools' Day with a 3-2 win away at Summerbridge Reserves.  With a strong wind blowing straight down the field the home team quickly take advantage, with a first time shot from 20 yards flying past Jay into the corner for 1-0.  After that we get into the game more and when Rees squares the ball for Scrapper it seems a certain equaliser but he contrives to find the keeper with the goal gaping (well done on getting the Farm Stores Si!!!).  However, Chops soon puts us level with a flighted shot from the right corner of the area which floats in over the keeper to take us in level at the break.  The first 15 of the 2nd half is all Pudsey but again Scrapper shoots straight at the keeper when through and Paul K heads the rebound over.  Our opponents make us pay when a ball is played in from the right an only their lad attacks it to make it 2-1.  With time running out it looks like 4 defeats in a row but up pops Rees for a delightful equaliser from 20 yards with his left foot and then a lobbed effort with 5 minutes left to win it.  Things are looking up at last!
The following week I make it back in time from Hull to ref our game v Wakeman, the last home match of the season.  A relatively comfortable 5-2 win follows though our opposition moan their way through the 1st half, claiming Rees was offside for both of our first two goals.  He was a good yard on for both, for the first he got to the by-line and squared it to Franny for a tap-in, and the second he chipped the keeper from the edge of the area.  Wakeman equalised twice, the 2nd being from a back pass from Will, Jay sliced it and their striker followed up (now you know how I feel Jay!!).  We stepped it up in the 2nd half however and got 3 goals without reply.  First, Scrapper turned in Phil Curry's goal bound effort, next Padge shot through a crowded area past an unsighted keeper and lastly Mr Curry curled a shot in from just inside the box.  We could have had more as both Nick and Paul having shots hit the same post, but to quote David O'Dreary, sorry O'Leary, "we ran out worthy winners in the end".
Our hopes of promotion were all but ended with defeat against Wetherby on Good Friday.  In a tight match and on a bobbly surface Wetherby took the lead just before half time, a mis-hit shot falling straight to the striker 6 yards out and he made no mistake.  The Ammers equalised however in our best spell of the match just after half time.  Following good work from Graeme Topping on the right, the ball was squared inside for Will who beat the keeper with a dipping shot from 25 yards out.  The next few minutes belonged to us but no real chances were forthcoming.  Wetherby then took the lead with a bad goal from our point of view.  Phil couldn't see anything due to losing his contact lens and had his back to play, their midfielder cut inside him, and the ball was eventually played out to the left, with the resulting cross being turned into his own net by Richie.  Graeme would have had the chance to cut the cross out but was already injured and couldn't run properly.  Our opponents sealed the match when the ball was touched back for number 11 to coolly slot the ball over Jay and in.  A bad result from a tight game where, though not through lack of effort, we again failed to play anything like our best.

We do however get back to winning ways on Easter Sunday against Wakeman Wanderers.  We are only able to field a patched up team due to numerous absences but that's nothing compared to Wakeman's problems, as they are only able to field 9 men.  A frustrating game ensues where we manage to miss chance after chance before Tat sends a beauty curling into the top corner from outside the box for our first.  Soon after my misplaced clearance falls straight to Baz who flicks on for Paul Ketterer to advance and flick the ball past the onrushing keeper for 2-0.  That's how is stays to half time as Wakeman defend well and their keeper though unorthodox also does well.  Into the 2nd half and we soon seal the match with Paul's second, clean through he coolly slots the ball in from the edge of the box as the keeper comes to meet him.  The 4th goal comes from Baz who tucks the ball home from near the penalty spot following a right wing cross.  The 5th goal is Paul's hat-trick, with a good run outside the full back and planting his shot inside the near post.  Wakeman get a consolation late on but we should have had double figures in all honesty.  A win's a win though!

The last game of the season doesn't get played until the 16th May due to Mile Post's earlier cup commitments.  A tight game ensues on the Stray as both sides try to secure a top 3 finish.  Pudsey have the best of the early opportunities when Rees is played in over the top, but he's forced wide and shoots across the keeper but also past the far post.  Mile Post play the better football but their only real chance in the 1st half comes from a free kick on the edge of the box forcing me in goal to push the ball away to safety.  Half time comes at 0-0.  The 2nd half follows a similar pattern, with Mile Post forcing the issue but unable to turn pressure into anything meaningful.  This changes just after the hour when a right wing cross is curled over to the back post, and their striker steals in past Dave Fowler to put a close range volley into the net.  This stirs the Ammers into life and 5 minutes later we level.  A cross by Rees is handled and Ben slots away the resultant penalty into the bottom corner.  Shortly after I have to make a smart save to deny their striker from the edge of the area.  However, with us increasingly committed to attack trying to find a winner, Mile Post snatch the win in the last minute when Ben is left facing 2 on 1 at left back, the cross comes over for a free header at the back post to win it. 

A bad end then to what turned out to be a disappointing season after such a good start.  However, with Fox and Wetherby (and maybe even Mile Post) out of the equation next term, we've got to fancy our chances, haven't we (kiss of death!).  UP THE AMMERS!!!!

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