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Adam Humphrey capitalises on a mix-up in the Saints’ defence to send us on our way.

Brook Street stormed to an emphatic 6-0 win away to MacAuleys Saints which secured the Division IV.13 league title at the first time of asking, and with it, brings a Division III Play-Off next weekend against Kobis.

Brook Street got off to a flying start as young Adam Humphrey pounced on a defensive mistake to fire the New Home Park side into the lead with only five minutes on the clock.

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure and only an outstanding save from Saints’ keeper Florian Pułka prevented Andrew Cleary from increasing the lead, but it was only a matter of time before Brook Street did find away through.

And when it came, it was a real beauty. Alex Clapperton had been tormenting Saints’ left-back Arthur Moore throughout the opening period, and with twenty minutes gone, he left the defender for dead before swinging over a teasing, tempting cross which Adam Humphrey met full on the volley to almost lifted the rigging off the goal frame.

Brook Street had their tails up by now and went straight for the kill. Andrew Cleary hit his twenty-second goal of the season in the twenty-sixth minute, and Phil Mullally all but made the game safe eight minutes before the break.

With the Championship in the bag by half-time, all that remained for Brook Street was to improve their goal difference to try to secure a more favourable play-off draw, and the visitors wasted no time in setting about their task.

With just two minutes played after the re-start Andrew Cleary rifled home his second goal of the game to make it 5-0 and secure his place as the league’s top scorer. Then, with sixty-eight minutes on the clock, it fell to Fraser Caragher to complete the scoring with a drilled shot following another defensive error.

So, next Saturday Brook Street will face Kobis in the Division III play-off, but when interviewed after the celebrations had moved on to local hostelries or the fans had headed back down the road, the coach reckons that this match has come too early for his side.

“We’ve been playing to a gameplan which is focussed around building a side capable of challenging in Division II at least. That, I feel, will take around two to three seasons, so while it’s fantastic that we have won the title, if I’m being brutally honest, I think we’ll struggle against Kobis. They are a very strong side in what looks like a really tough league. We’ve played a few of the sides there before, usually in the Scottish Cup, so we are well aware of how good they are”.

He continued, “We’ll give it our best shot, but I think it’s a step too far for us, especially as we’re playing at their ground. It’s been a great season for us in the end, and given time, this can become a great team.

Andrew Cleary blasts home his second goal to secure the 5-1 win and ensure promotion back to Division III.

Andrew Cleary blasts home his second goal to secure the 5-1 win and ensure promotion back to Division III.

Seldom has an outpouring of jubilation been experienced at New Home Park as that witnessed this evening. Three seasons of frustration and disappointment were brushed aside as Brook Street stormed back into Division III with an emphatic 5-1 win over title rivals The Tiny Spacemen.

“We’ve known the heartbreak of missing out on promotion”, said Leoš Loos on the pitch at full-time, “so my first thoughts go out to everyone connected with The Tiny Spacemen”.

He continues, “They’ve been formidable opponents and I’m sure they will be there or thereabouts next season”.

Then, while saluting the vast Brook Street support he said, “Look at the joy on their faces. This is what it’s all about. They follow us week in week out and we’ve let them down in the past. Today however, we got our act together and they will be watching Division III football next season. The feeling of sheer jubilation makes it all worthwhile”.

Andrew Cleary stopped in front of the North Bank during the lap of honour to speak with the club’s most vociferous fans, and at one point was in danger of being carried shoulder-high to a house party before being rescued by stewards.

Back on terra firma he laughed then echoing his gaffer’s statement saying, “See! This is what it means to us. The guys and girls on the North Bank are what make the club, and personally I am honoured to be able to play in front of them each week”. Then, he added with a wink, “We are all one big family, and I’ll be going to that party tonight despite the stewards… I’m a Brook Street fan too!”.

Back in the relative tranquility of the dressing room, Eike Alanne, who opened the scoring, said, “It’s going to take a while to sink in. I’ve only recently arrived, but for the guys who are the heart and soul of the club, I can imagine the sheer joy that today’s result brings”.

He continued, “They’ve really suffered, but now all those seasons of disappointment will now be forgotten. I’m delighted for them, and for the fans, especially the ones we see at club functions. Fans like that are the same the world over; they’d run through walls for their club, and we as players know exactly what it means to them. I’m only glad we’ve managed to win the title”.

After having hastily changed from his champagne-soaked kit, Leoš Loos reflected on the game.

“We started the game really well and were fortunate enough to take a two-goal lead in the opening quarter of an hour thanks to Eike and Andrew”.

He continued, “Although they pulled a goal back, Abel restored our two-goal advantage five minutes before the break and from then on we were never really in any danger”.

“Manny’s spot-kick was pivotal, although for me, it was never a penalty, then Andrew wrapped up the scoring with a trademark strike”.

“We played some of our best football of the season today”, he concluded, “and we can now enjoy the next few days’ celebrations before we start preparing for next season”.

The team celebrate lifting the title.

The team celebrate lifting the title.

In the end with Marcascotties’ 5-0 defeat away to Stirling Bridge effectively rendered outcome of Brook Street’s match against FC Poland meaningless, the New Home Park side were taking no chances and comprehensively dismantled their visitors with a devastating display of attacking football to seal the championship and with it a swift return to the third tier of the Hattrick Scottish League.

In front of over 54,000 spectators, Brook Street were a goal up inside the first two minutes through Zsolt Baboss and from then on there was no way there would be any slip-ups. FC Poland had set up in a defensive 5-3-2 but all this served to do was invite wave upon wave of Brook Street attacks. It was almost inevitable that Brook Street would run up a big score against a reserve side, and that they did, netting eleven without reply.

“We showed what we are capable of today and I’m delighted for the lads”, beamed Leoš Loos afterwards. They’ve worked very hard this season and now have their reward. We go back to Division III with renewed optimism, and while we know it will be a whole more difficult proposition at the higher level, we at least have the advantage of knowing what to expect”.

He continued, “We were fortunate to keep the team together after last season and that helped us greatly. However, I would expect that some players may move on now as we build for next season”.

When pressed on who he thought would be leaving he replied, “We’ll be looking at that in the close season, and the players concerned would be the first to know rather than the press. In the meantime we’ve still got a match left to play and we’ll be focussing on that this week rather than what will or won’t be happening in the build-up to next season”.

Emanuel Bohucký went home with the match ball after hitting his fourth career hat-trick, while both Nemanja Janković and Leoš Loos hit a brace. In addition to Zsolt Baboss’s opener, Brook Street’s other goals came from Attila Gyöngyösi, Andrew Cleary and Jake MacConnechy.

So Brook Street go into the final weekend fixture ironically away to runners-up, Marcascotties as Champions.

“It’s one of those things that crops up from time to time”, admitted the coach. “They’ve pushed us all season, but at least we’ll be able to enjoy the occasion a bit more. That’s not to say we’ll be taking the foot off the gas though”, he warned, “as there’s still a chance we could have to play a qualifier and I for one certainly don’t want that”.




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