Richmond Boakye had the last laugh by scoring the winner

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a game like this to remind you you haven’t. Goal-starved Elche and their long-suffering supporters have suffered the last two home matches without a single goal, to give hope to the dream of staying up in the rarefied atmosphere of La Liga in their first season back after 26 years.

A glorious warm Sunday evening encouraged 31,101 noisy green and white supporters to almost fill the mighty Martinez Valero stadium, includong a couple of hundred blue-clad Getafe fans high up in the visitors stand. With Getafe a point behind and both teams just above the relegation zone this was more a daren’t-lose game rather than a must-win.

Club captain and talisman Edu Albacar was still out injured so Cisma ably deputised, with Carlos ‘The Rock’ Sanchez preferred in midfield to Javi Marquez, otherwise Elche at full strength. New boy Rodriguez almost got Elche off to a dream start as he cut in from the left but his low cross rolled harmlessly across the Getafe goal with no-one to put it in.

Back came the visitors to hit the post with a soft shot on 10 minutes, but it was the Franjiverdes who were enjoying the most of the first half, Sanchez driving just wide and having a dubious penalty denied as Coro went down theatrically in the box just before half time.

In the second half Elche kept up the pressure, and with the crowd became increasingly impatient Elche coach Fran Escriba predictably rang the changes using all three substitutes, the one mattering most being the Ghanian striker Boakye for local hero Herrera.

With the crowd roaring Elche on, the game went into added time with three minutes shown. After a hold-up for a Getafe injury, and everyone settling for yet another Elche home goalless draw the ball was crossed high from the right into the Getafe area where the away team had always looked so secure.

But there was Boakye, all alone who effortlessly guided his header safely into the net to be mobbed by his team-mates, and send everyone connected with the City of Palms home in ectstacy.

It’s not over yet: next weekend Elche travel to neighbours Valencia, and have some difficult games (Athletico, Barcelona…) in the run in to the end of this amazing season.

But just for now: priceless…Mucho Elche!

Photos by Kevin Rendall

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