Zakharova, playing on the right side of a Centre-Back Duo, prepared himself for the high ball that is going straight towards him. He calmly, skipped to the side, leaning his legs at an angle before jumping off the ground with great vigour, with him aiming to clear the ball straight out of bounds in an effort to waste time.
The ball bounced off Zakharovas head, as he nudged it straight to the byline, but it was at that moment that he realised a shadow seemingly appeared at the edge of his vision. Benoit Leroy sensing the opportunity didn hesitate. He has shaken off his marker, with his craving to score a goal for himself, reading Zakharovas intentions like a book, with the agile striker intercepting the weak clearance.
Sébastien: "The Le Harve captain plays a flirting pass upfield, but it is intercepted by the well-read Zakharova, who heads the ball away. But he has given the ball away! Leroy stole the ball under Zakharovas nose and he is through on goal!"
The former player grew surprised and excited by the opportunity, getting up from the edge of his feet in anticipation. Beside him, the old Horace leaned closer on his deck. "Leroy. Running full speed at the goalie. Zakharova is left in the dust! But beside Leroy is Salmon who are both chasing for the ball."
Marleys eyes opened as he watch the play unfold. With his hands transformed into tight fists that reflect his stress. "Come on kid, repay your yellow card with a goal." Lanier jumped up and down on the sideline, his mouth opened wide as he shouted his absolute loudest, cheering on Leroy. Kai was also on the edge of his seat. He could smell the goal, He could literally smell it coming.
The speed of Leroy is impeccable, with him edging Salmon slightly to shield the ball from the Centre-Back. The No. 9 eyes focused on the ball, yet wary of the strong presence that is ever so slightly pushing him from the back.
He dashed faster, desperate to lose his marker. But he felt an invisible pressure from his shirt as if it was pulling him back, not wanting him to get away. Leroy could feel his pace slow down. Was he getting tired?
Leroy disagreed. The striker could feel his legs are not even remotely fatigued. And compare this to the physically intensive training that they have gone through, what he had done on the pitch is nothing.
The heavy breathing down his neck made the presence of Salmon well aware to Leroy. He didn even bother looking back, but he wanted to silently beat this prick into pieces. Leroy rarely loses in a foot race, and this is no exception, but Salmon is blatantly pulling on his shirt!
Sébastien: "A dash to goal Leroy and Salmon chasing and each scrambling to be the first on the ball. But Leroy is slightly ahead of Salmon, the Lens keepers watch the scene unfold. OH! The keeper rushes out from the goal to clear it! Its a three-man race for the ball and each is just as likely to get there first!"
The two teams looked on from the distance as they anticipated who will collect the ball first. But no one knows what will happen next. It would have been the last chance that Le Harve would have to turn their luck around.
Manager Marley was on his tip toes as he waited for the next moment. The supporters were moving from their seats, eager to witness the drama that was unfolding before them. The RC Lens supporters were left deftly quiet in the stands, yet each watched intently at the foot of the players, struggling to hide their fears.
Barely any time had passed as the two players were fighting for the ball. Suddenly there was a loss of balance and...
"OH, but the Le Harve forward reaches the ball first! HE ROUNDS THE KEEPER. THE POST IS OPEN! AND HE SLOTS THE BALL TO THE BACK OF THE NET!!! LEROY HAS DONE IT! AN EQUALISER FROM LE HARVE!"
The crowds go ecstatic, applauding the phenomenal comeback of the team. The spectators had nothing but joy to share on their faces. Even the man who had broken the deadlock is currently bathed in a moment of glory, in the background of cheering voices from the home fans.
Marley looks like he had a heavy burden lifted off his chest, as his almost deftly silent demeanour broke as he lifted his arm up high with a triumphant fist, congratulating the teams on its spectacular comeback. Lanier shook the body of Kai back and forth in excitement as he couldn contain his excitement, and the crowds grew feverish from the fast-paced football which resulted in their team equalising just before the half-time whistle.
The players, Leroy, Chevalier, and Roys all looked absolutely exhausted. But a shared sense of joy and their brilliant display of teamwork had left the players buzzing with excitement.
The agile striker had a smirk on his face as he pointed his finger at his partner on the left wing. Chevalier winked back at him, letting the youngster know that he was in fact the creator of this miracle. Though the winger wasn as ecstatic as the rest of the teammates, bitterly tracked back as he realises the top goal scorer for Le Harve U-19 is now being shared.
Yet, as the celebration occurred, the referee, just as he previously did for Leroys tackle of Salmon, profusely blew his whistle against the current set of play. Though it was weird, as the referee didn bother confirming the goal, with him only gesturing at a player lying on the ground.
Sébastien: "Wait! The referee isn acknowledging the goal. He is pointing at Salmon who is lying on the floor. What is the meaning of this?!"
Horace, who had few words in between the match, much preferred his talkative partner to do the majority of the work. Keenly offered his observation. "Séb, I think the referee is having second thoughts about that goal..."
The referee looked on the sideline, watching the linesman who exchanged a few glances with the official referee. While the linesman pointed towards the fallen Salmon, shaking his head in disagreement.
Tactical coach, Lanier, rushed to the linesman as he gestured widely to communicate his frustrations and his clear belief in the goals validity. His mouth opened and clenched like an alligator as visible saliva hit the linesmans face, or so the linesman thought.
"ARE YOU BLIND? SALMON WAS PULLING HIS SHIRT! YOU CANT DO THAT! THIS IS A DISGRACE!"
The referee has a sour expression of aggravation. He doesn like that his job unintentionally torments players and managers alike. And he himself is sure he wouldn be able to keep calm in such a situation. "Mr Lanier. Please remain in your designated area. I do not wish to penalise you for this simple mistake."
Lanier grew livid. "WHAT USE DO YOU HAVE IF YOU CANT EVEN DO YOUR JOB PROPERLY? DONT IGNORE MY QUESTION. WHY IS THAT GOAL CANCELLED!"
The linesman, who has started to worry about his job security, would seem a little excited, or rather childish at the moment. "Im just following the rules. Please see to it, so I don have to hand out a massive fine or a penalty... or worse..."
Lanier had a snarl in his look as he wasn impressed with the linesmans cowardly usage of his status to ignore him. He scoffed as he stormed away, which grabbed the attention of the referee who is on the field. He watched the coach as he walked into his technical area, before venting his frustrations like a big baby, whining to no end.
The old commentator watched the scene unfold: "It seems that the referee and linesman are deliberating whether Leroys goal should be disallowed. And the Le Harve staff has no restraint in displaying their anger."
Sébastiens eyes popped out as his tone jumped in surprise. "WHAT? Why? There was nothing wrong with that goal!"
Leroy and Chevalier had their mouths hanging open, looking at the rest of their team for a second, clearly befuddled by the strange turn of events.
Horace shook his head. "The goal is valid, but it seems that Leroy may have unknowingly performed a foul on Salmon to beat him to the ball. The referees would be allowed to cancel the goal if they deem Leroys actions as against the rules."
With all that had happened during the game, with the home crowd cheering on and the stands getting packed with spectators, the players would find it difficult to understand what was being said. But they could deduce that the referees are hesitant in awarding the goal, which is all they needed to know to spark their collective outrage.
Leroy was the first to strike, with him making a bee-line for the referee and making exaggerated gestures as he explained his innocence.
Leroy: "HEY! That wasn a foul. I didn touch him. He just fell over as I ran for the ball. He was also pulling my shirt! Why are you cancelling my goal!"
The referee shook his head with a stern look, showing he was standing on thin ice. Before gesturing to the player away from himself as he has yet to make a final decision.
More Le Harve players gathered around the referee as they waited for the referees decision. Though the home crowd is unaware of what is going on in the field, they are witnessing a loud and chaotic scene that they have no desire to miss. As the referee gestures back, the protests can be heard.
The players look on at Leroy and Leroy looked on at the referee. The players and the spectators finally grasped what was happening.
The referee outlined the goals posts with his arms, before making a cross with them. "And the referee has made his decision. The goal is called back for a foul during the buildup to the goal."
Leroy looked disappointed, but with his mind made up, he marched off the field. Not the most professional way to leave a game, but the alternative may not have been too better for him.
Some onlookers, realising the situation brewing on the field, began to leave the stadium. Not wanting to further witness a clear unjust, and also as a silent protest against the poor officiating. Leroy watched as the walkers and fans left, saying nothing as he walked to the technical area to have a rest. The clock shows its 46 minutes. With only a few seconds until the whistle for halftime.
Just when it seems the half is over, the referee surprisingly demanded the ball before pointing at the location where Leroy and Salmon collided, which is right outside the box.
Sébastien: "WAIT! The referee has pointed to the spot. He acknowledged Leroy has fouled Salmon, but so too has Salmon fouled Leroy. The match official has given Le Harve a free-kick!"
That was a rare moment of clarity in the referees mind. He knows Leroy has committed a foul, but he also knows it was harsh of him to cancel the goal. The referee had a conversation with the linesman on the side, as they both agreed on awarding the set-piece to Le Harve. But it was nothing more than a soft apology.