AFC Whyteleafe entered May having not played a competitive game for almost a month. Needing to win their remaining games, and hoping Wimbledon would slip up twice (unlikely), to have any chance of winning the league, the Leafe set about their task with a trip to Westminster Casuals.
The Casuals started the game by continually throwing themselves to the floor, until about 10 minutes in, when one theatrical dive too many caused the ref to finally realise what they were up to. It was a stop-start game until the 12th minute, when Alton ‘Laser’ Leeward's interception and overhead pass set up Gus Ward, who rounded the defender and stuck it in the corner. Six minutes later, and a lovely through ball from Marciniak found Negasi, who coolly slotted it home.
Another goal from Condon for the Leafe, a fortunate goal and a bit of pushing and hair-pulling from the Casuals, and the teams went into half time at 3-1. The second half saw Negasi and Marciniak subbed to protect them from further cynical tackles. The Leafe managed not to rise to the provocation and two more goals from Gus Ward wrapped things up nicely, finishing 5-1.
On 12 May the FA announced that AFC Whyteleafe's application to join the National League System had been accepted. This sees us move from our current Step 8 to Step 6 (essentially a two-league advancement).
The club gave the following official statement:
"Essentially, as we are a new club and sat outside the National League System this season, we were able to apply for Step 6 so long as we could prove that we could be sustainable as a club for the long-term. Ground grading, financial forecasting, fan base, amongst many other criteria were assessed before the decision was made. We were formed too late for consideration last year but decided to play at any level we could, rather than not have any football in Whyteleafe for a year. Now the hard work starts and we need to justify the FA decision with performances on the pitch next season!"
Bizarrely, the Leafe had to play their final league game of the season against Earlsfield SSEC, two days after the FA's announcement. It would have been easy to pull out of (what turned out to be) a meaningless game, but with our management, coaches and players, that was never going to happen. It turned out to be a carbon copy of the previous week: another Gus Ward hat-trick and another 5-1 victory for the Leafe.
Phew! Season over, we finish second in the league and now enter the National League System. It’s been emotional!
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