Durham University Association Football Club have enjoyed their most successful season ever after the second team held their nerve on the final day of the season to complete a momentous double promotion for the club.
An emphatic 3-0 victory away at Northumbria – when anything less than three points would have seen rivals Sheffield win the league instead – sealed the second team’s promotion into Northern 3B, and together with the first team’s 100% record in the league marks DUAFC’s most memorable campaign to date.
The final-day triumph for the seconds, who are coached by Gateshead player Chris Moore, was the culmination of a fine run of form which saw them cruise to six successive victories in the last six games of the season.
During this sumptuous spell, they scored 28 goals and conceded just two.
Although the 3-0 win against Northumbria 3s on the last day of the season illustrated the team’s ability to perform under pressure, the truly decisive victory came three weeks before against closest rivals Sheffield 2s.
A last-minute winner from midfielder Adam Hayes, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, left the South Yorkshire side – who were in the driving seat for promotion at the time – demoralised and swung the title momentum massively in Durham’s favour.
The confident Palatinates then dispatched Newcastle 2nds 5-0 at home, setting up a tantalising all-or-nothing climax to the season at Northumbria.
Durham had to match Sheffield’s result to guarantee promotion, and to add to the drama their rivals were playing on a parallel pitch against Northumbria 4s at the same time.
Sheffield did all they could, registering a comfortable 3-0 win, meaning any slip from Durham would be severely punished.
The team’s strength of character, engendered under the sharp tutelage of Chris Moore, meant such a capitulation was unlikely, however.
Indeed, two early goals signified Durham’s dominance before a third was added to secure promotion and cap off a perfect season for the team and the club.
The seconds will join the likes of York 1sts, Teeside 1sts and Huddersfield 1sts in Northern 3B next year, while the first team – who on the final day maintained their 100% record with a tenth consecutive league victory – will compete in Northern 1A against Newcastle, Leeds, Leeds Met, UCLAN and Chester.
Exciting times lie ahead for DUAFC, whose unprecedented success will surely have been noticed by Team Durham, the organisers and distributors of funding to the university’s sport clubs.