The decisive match in phase one of the Poulton and District Youth League Championship for under-14s was between YMCA and Poulton, and it more than lived up to its billing.
Both teams went into the game inseparable after losing only one of their previous games, meaning the match was a play-off to determine who finished in top spot.
And the match could hardly have been more dramatic as YMCA recovered from two goals down in the final four minutes to draw the match and share the title.
The first half was tight and goalless, though Jacob Grice struck the crossbar for YMCA and Callum Fielding shot narrowly wide. Poulton came more into the game as the half wore on and forced YMCA’s debutant keeper Kyle Ganson into three excellent saves.
With regular keeper Harry Aherne unfortunately out with a broken arm, YMCA signed Kyle ahead of the game and he proved a great acquisition.
Jack Robinson thought he had broken the deadlock for YMCA but his effort was ruled out because a team-mate was ruled offside.
Then came the most dramatic of finales as Poulton took the lead six minutes from time.
Charlie Clark, who had come on as a half-time substitute, put the visitors ahead with a firm header.
And they added the second a minute later, when Declan Bond rounded the keeper to finish in style.
But within 60 seconds YMCA pulled a goal back through Robinson, who met Lucas Miller’s corner at the far post and volleyed home.
YMCA then threw everyone forward and they grabbed a dramatic equaliser when Miller bent a superb shot into the top corner seconds before the final whistle.
There was barely time for the match to restart and the trophy was shared after an epic duel.
Despite the late drama, Poulton manager Ben Ankers had nothing but praise for his players. He said: “They are the best bunch of players I’ve coached and most of them have been together since they were nine.
“It was a fair result. There are five very good teams and our competition. Poulton and YMCA are two of them and we always have good matches.”
Liam Robinson stood in for YMCA manager Mick Bishop and summed up the game: “It was one of the best grassroots matches I have ever seen. The match was full of good play by both teams. We didn’t deserve to be two down and the draw was a fair result.”
While keeper Ganson was the home man of the match, rock-solid defender Harry Pratt took the award for Poulton.
The teams revert to cup mode after the Christmas break before the second phase of league fixtures.