‘Claesson as always, Thyselius don’t let me down son, Gemheden you’re on the left this time. Radgy and the Pole complete the back 4’ Jock said and continued ‘Nothing fancy in the middle, Khazzoum and, no Michael not now please (Michael Khazzoum raised his hand to probably ask a stupid question) Eriksson lots of running in the middle, get the ball out to Ekman and Nkuru, did I say that right?’ Yves Nkuru, the clubs back up left winger making his first start nodded, Jock carried on ‘Oksuz and Sander up top again’
‘These are there for the taking. Don’t let anything distract you, we’re the better team and all I’m asking is that you go out there and put in a shift. Yes Michael what is it?’
‘I can’t see us beating Lidkopings as well as Kumla losing, it’s improbable, and we’re more than likely going down’ Micheal Khazzoum said, who in truth was only thinking about himself.
‘Improbable but not impossible. If we’re going down Michael then sugar we’re going down swinging. No excuses!’
It didn’t take long before the ball was in the back of the net, and luckily for Jock and the IK Tord players, it was them that had scored early on.
A goal kick from Lidkopings was picked off by Ekman who nodded forward just to see the ball cleared back up field by the defence. Bocianski then played it forward back to Ekman on the right hand side. He played the ball into the path of Oksuz in the area who hit it first time to which the keeper was equal. He wasn’t equal to the rebound though and Oksuz poked it home. 55 seconds in and 1-0 to Tord!
‘It’s happening Mikeal, I told you it’s happening. We are staying up!!’ Jock yelled to Mikael Eriksson who was his calm self and replied ‘There’s another 89 minutes to go yet. Stay grounded’
When we stay up I’m going to replace him Jock thought as the team readied themselves for the start of the second half. The reaction from Lidkopings was to be expected, they were fighting for survival as well.
They were content to play the ball around and probe for an opening that wasn’t coming, Tord were defensively sound.
The biggest threat to Lidkopings was the pace of Ekman out wide and the 2 up top in Oksuz and Sander. Ekeman found himself out wide again, played in another delightful ball that whizzed right across the area, all 4 defenders left it to run out to Gemheden at left back. He played it infield to Nkuru who cut in on his right and was fouled on the edge of the box. Up stepped Micheal Khazzoum.
Lidkopings came back at Tord but nothing really threatened, and the players were happy to sit back and invite pressure, there was a confidence, almost arrogance about their defensive work. Jock didn’t need any words of wisdom at the half, the players knew what to do and what was needed.
After some strategic subs to run the clock down, the players sat back and welcomed the little pressure they faced. By the time the ref blew for full time Tord had more than deserved their win, and secured survival.
As the team made their way into the dressing room at full time, Jock stood in silence, surveyed each player, looked into their eyes and said well done to each before saying to the group as a whole ‘If you think for 1 minute that we’re getting dragged into another relegation battle next season then you’re mistaken. I aren’t doing this shit again, leaving it until the last day of the season. There’s going to be changes and you all can go away and rest, but come back invigorated and ready for something else, something more’
The players, most of them anyway, wanted to enjoy the moment, the feeling of elation of securing survival on the final day, but the boss wasn’t having any of it.
Next episode – The IK Tord Five
Previous episode – If you don’t see the bottom, don’t wade.