IT has taken four long years but Huncoat United Under 14s finally know what it feels like NOT to be beaten.
A team that has leaked more than 500 goals and lost nearly 70 games picked up its first ever point after drawing 3-3 against Rossendale Lads.
Now they are aiming for that first elusive victory.
“It feels like we have won the World Cup,” said jubilant manager Paul Chadwick.
“Even if we don’t pick up another point all season, then we have achieved more than we have ever done.
“The smile on the faces of the boys at the end of the game was priceless.
"Now we want to go on and win our first game.”
Huncoat have been used to being the league’s whipping boys having lost every single game since becoming an 11-a-side team.
But despite losing week after week and finishing bottom of the table every season, Chadwick was full of praise for his young players.
“It is easy to play in a successful team or one that wins from time to time.
"But when you are getting beat every week and come off the pitch and can still laugh and joke about it, then that shows you what the game is all about.
“Of course there are some lads who don’t like that feeling but the majority of these boys have stuck together and they have now picked a richly deserved draw and I am chuffed for them.”
Chadwick said that his Huncoat side had to play some games with eight, nine or 10 players simply because others had got fed up with losing – on average his team was conceding 15 goals a game.
“I have to be honest, I’ve thought about walking away a few times myself but I remembered I started this team for the kids and not me.
“My belief has always been to give boys a game that they might not get somewhere else.
"Even when we couldn’t put out a full team they gave their all.
“I remember one time we got thumped 25-0, it was our biggest defeat, but I looked in the back of the car on the way home and the boys were still laughing and joking.”
Chadwick said there has been no magic formula; they have managed to get a goalkeeper and a settled defence and are slowly beginning to get better.
These are unchartered waters for Huncoat United – and also the manager’s checklist.
“I start the season with a list,” said Chadwick.
“The first is to score a goal, the second is to score two goals in a game. To be honest, we haven’t really gone beyond that “But now I can tick off draw a match and hopefully before we finish the
season I can tick game won!”
Despite the team’s new found confidence, old habits, it seems, die hard as Huncoat lost 13-1 against Brierfield Celtic on Saturday.
“We were unfortunate,” admitted Chadwick.
“We didn’t get off to the best of starts and we were playing a Brierfield side that had won their previous game.”