Långholmen crowned champions in final day drama

The Local's partner football club Långholmen FC earned promotion to Division 3 on Sunday in a dramatic final day of the season that saw the Stripes overtake pre-game table toppers Marieberg with a 3-1 win over Reymersholms IK.

Långholmen crowned champions in final day drama

The state of play before the top two teams’ final games saw the clubs level on points with Marieberg topping the Stockholm Division 4 table on goal difference — by a single goal.

The last time the match reporting team can remember this much drama at the end of a game was back in 1989 when Arsenal’s Michael Thomas scored in the last minutes against Liverpool at Anfield to claim the league title for the London club.

If anything, Sunday’s match was even more dramatic as the Långholmen players gathered in a huddle in the centre of the pitch after the match, eagerly awaiting news of their destiny.

Finally the signal came from chairman Mats Gustavsson that Marieberg had ended their season with a 2-2 draw away to Boo, sparking scenes of wild jubilation at Essinge IP as fans hugged each other and joined the players on the pitch to share in a historic moment for a club that has only been in existence for seven years.

But it could have all gone so wrong for the home side, as their opponents and local rivals Reymersholm had no intention of joining in the party spirit. When Reymers’ captain Martin Bengtsson stepped up to fire home a free kick past keeper Edwin Bergquist on 38 minutes it looked like the champagne would be kept on ice.

Reymersholm were very physical in the first half and the officiating team, who it must be said were not at their best for Sunday’s game, let many hefty challenges go unpunished. Time and time again the bulky midfielders closed in tight and made life difficult for the Stripes, whose cause was not helped by the very wet conditions and a slippery surface.

On 11 minutes Långholmen’s Pete McConnell sent in a rasping shot which was turned round the post by the keeper. The same player was carded after a tough challenge on 32 minutes, which brought an angry response from the Reymers players who could consider themselves fortunate to escape without yellow cards of their own.

As always the home fans kept up the tempo on the sidelines with chant after chant, trying to urge on their side.

But Långholmen remained a goal down at half time and the management team was forced to make some changes. Anton Björlund Bergström was introduced, as was Oscar Hentmark, and the second half was barely a minute old when the changes paid dividends. A goalmouth scramble saw the ball fall to Hentmark who toe-poked the ball home from eight yards, prompting a crescendo of noise from the terraces.

There was a real positive flair now to Långholmen and it wasn’t long before they grabbed a second. “Mr. Dependable” and leading scorer Chris Allen banged the ball home from just inside the box. Suddenly it sounded like there were 20,000 inside Essinge IP and not the 206 fans who had braved the elements.

Reymers were visibly shaken and began arguing amongst themselves as their dream of spoiling their rivals’ big day was gradually dissected.

On 60 minutes a very brave header by Allen once again found the back of the net. It was 3-1 but the forward took a mighty blow to the face for his trouble and was forced to leave the field of play.

As the game entered its final third, Reymers found a second wind and tried to play their way towards goal, but Stuart Lascelles and co held firm at the back. Young Wilhelm Karlsson in particular had a superb game in the left back slot.

Tension was mounting as news that Marieberg were also leading 3-1 filtered through, an unsubstantiated report that, fortunately for Långholmen, eventually proved false.

The Stripes pushed on looking for number four, and it nearly came when Deri Thomas rattled the upright with two minutes left on the clock.

The seconds ticked away and the whistle went for the end of the game. But it wasn’t until two minutes later that the Stripes were confirmed as champions to seal what has been an unbelievable league season for all involved in the club.

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Playing IFK Gothenburg a ‘dream come true’

Stockholm's international football club Långholmen lost their Swedish Cup draw against league superstars IFK Gothenburg on Monday night, in a fairytale opportunity the team captain called "a surreal dream come true".

Playing IFK Gothenburg a 'dream come true'

Almost 700 fans turned up in Stockholm to see the game, with the vast majority supporting the Stockholm side, however the raucous and non-stop cheers of the crowd were not enough to claim a victory for Långholmen, who lost 0-9.


The Local chatted to club captain Andy O’Sullivan after the game about taking part in what many dubbed as football’s David and Goliath match of the year.

The Local: How would you describe the team’s mood after the game?

Andy O’Sullivan: It was celebratory, there was an overwhelming feeling of pride, and positivity about the future. We all went for a few beers and watched the report on SVT Fotbollskväll and it got a huge cheer! It was bizarre that Manchester United versus Everton was on one TV and Långholmen FC vs IFK Gothenburg was on the other!

The founding members of the club were all in attendance… and I think for them it is a rather surreal dream come true. To see what they have built over 10 years… from having a kick around in the park to playing a competitive match against Sweden’s most successful club IFK Gothenburg.

TL: What was the reaction to the huge turnout and all the international interest?

AO: The atmosphere at the game was electric. All the fans and friends of the club have been revelling in the wider press coverage. From The Guardian to the BBC, The Sun and the national radio, La Stampa in Italy and beyond – the feedback and response to our achievement have been universally positive.

It’s true that LFC has been mentioned as the antidote to the corporate commercially-driven Premiere League on offer. The romance around this game has captured the hearts of a lot of people. We have received well wishes from all across the globe, and I think the fans last night showed what a special club LFC is.

TL: What were the highlights of the match for you?

AO: The players worked so hard, and really gave it everything. Gothenburg came here to do a job and played their first eleven. They showed no mercy and punished us at the end of the game when we were tired. I think it is a credit to the Gothenburg players that they gave us a lot of respect and took the game seriously.

Speaking to Tobias Hysen after the game, he said that they enjoyed games like this too, a game with a real story behind it.

For us, Chris Allen did great in goal despite the score line, and the two centre-backs Andy Mclelland and Ciaron McCormack were outstanding. The whole defence stood up to immense pressure and the squad acquitted themselves very well. It was difficult to keep the ball and match the physical performance level of the Gothenburg players, but we had a little spell in the second half where we managed to keep the ball and maintain our shape.

TL: Was the final score an accurate reflection of the match?

AO: I think 0-9 is a harsh result. They scored in injury time in the first half and 3 goals in the final ten minutes of the game. Obviously the lads were exhausted and this just shows the level of fitness between the professional teams and the rest. They clinically punished our mistakes, and we have no complaints. But I thought 0-6 would have been a fairer score line… one goal for each league between us.

TL: What next for the club?

AO: Onwards and upwards. We have a league match on Thursday night as we fight to stay in Division 4. This is a local derby against FC Krukan, and a very important match. I hope as many fans come down to cheer us on again: Kick off 2000 @ Essinge IP.

Below: Watch as Långholmen fans keep the crowd entertained at the match behind the linesman’s back.

Oliver Gee

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