After 75 hours of football, Cornard United’s long-suffering players and joint managers were finally able to embrace in a long-awaited victory hug.
If the losing really does make the winning all the sweeter, the feeling inside Chris Symes’ and his club’s players and staff at 5pm Saturday was a once-in-a-lifetime moment of sporting elation.
What made the winning cocktail even more remarkable was the 1-0 scoreline was achieved, Gary Davis, in goal due to Magnus Weeks being unavailable against a side unbeaten in nine with an outfield player — ending Cornard’s run of 43 consecutive defeats in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division.
Along with three other starting players, joint-manager Paul Grainger tasted the win at his former club and then got national airtime on BBC Radio Five Live’s Non-League Show.
“It was a fantastic feeling,” said Grainger, who left Wanderers as assistant manager, the game before Cornard’s previous league win, against them, stretching back to October 29, 2011.
“I was absolutely delighted for Chris as I would have hated his last year in football to be one without a win.”
Symes himself, who will be emotional when taking charge of his last game in football after 35 years when leading Cornard out against Team Bury at Blackhouse Lane on Saturday (3pm), said: “It is the monkey off our backs now and it would be nice to get one last win.”
Saturday’s triumph, Cornard’s first points of the season with just one game to go, came after a 38th-minute strike by Daniel Stephens.
“You might say the goal was a bit lucky, but at the end of the day the defender has headed it past his own goalkeeper and Daniel Stephens has to get there to nip in and bury it,” said Grainger. “What made it even more remarkable was the fact we had Gary Davis in goal, who is normally our centre-forward and I think it ended up working for us in that it raised everyone’s game to protect him.
“You couldn’t pick individuals out, everyone was outstanding on the day.”
Grainger praised Wanderers’ players for being gracious in defeat, going up and shaking hands with his side.
Basement dwellers Cornard cannot be relegated due to a dearth of teams with the ground grading to replace them.