The first three seasons of the Second Team's involvement in M(S)FL soccer between 1979/80 and 1981/82 were rather unsuccessful to say the least! Twice they finished bottom and once second from bottom. However, the fourth season, namely 1982/83, saw a dramatic change In the 2nd Xl's fortunes... and with it promotion for the first time.
The 1982/83 campaign was all the more remarkable in that it only came to life in the second half of the season after a poor start. After the first five matches in the Third Division, the 'B' team's record stood at two draws and three defeats. The familiar struggles endured over the previous three seasons looked like continuing with only two points to show. However, unknown to the Seconds at the time, the opening four fixtures were against the teams which ended up in 1st, 2nd and 4th positions so really the start could not have been tougher!
The first league win came against Athletico's 4th Xl but the joy was rather shortlived because they pulled out soon afterwards and their record was expunged. But, although altered to the rank of 'friendly', the success against Athletico was the Second Team's third on the trot following other friendly wins against Basinghill and Scope. Hardly epic stuff compared to the poor league form but nevertheless the best run enjoyed by Temple Fortune 'B' since the team's formation in 1979!
Compensation for the Athletico disappointment was certainly forthcoming when the League discovered that South London had fielded an ineligible player in the very first fixture. The 2nd Xl were handed the points and its Division 3 points tally was immediately tripled.
In mid-November the Seconds beat struggling Wembley JYC and followed that with a victory against Willesden. Then came the big test against leaders Marlborough Olympic who were thumping most teams week in, week out. Although beaten 8-3 in the first meeting, Temple Fortune 'B' put in a stirring performance and probably for the first time in the season Marlborough had a real fight on their hands. Neil Hart gave the Seconds a shock lead and only an equaliser ten minutes from time saved a point for the Div.3 leaders.
The exuberance of this excellent result really lifted the team and the newly-found confidence brought on a superb sequence of eight consecutive league matches without defeat, including seven wins. The best were 10-1 against Wembley and an amazing 13-1 revenge victory over Scope who were the last team to inflict a league defeat back in November. Steve Feiger scored seven times in this slaughter to set a new Club record for the most goals in one match (equalled in 1985 by Steve Levy versus Basinghill but surpassed in 1990 by Mark Powell who scored eight times against Elstree Eagles.) The 13-1 win was the Second Team's record score which stands to this day.
The only blot in that stupendous run was an acutely disappointing 2-2 draw against bottom placed JLGB at Coppermill Lane. Steve Feiger missed a penalty five minutes from the end which would have given the Second Team a winning 3-1 lead. Almost straight away JLGB hit the equaliser to take a share of the points.
Peter Kyte was playing superbly well in midfield after a mediocre first half of the season. His dominating displays certainly coincided with the vast improvement in the Second Xl's performances and he actually scored eight goals from midfield in nine matches, one of the best personal runs for any midfielder in the Club's history.
The Second Team's record-breaking sequence took them into a promotion challenging place and the 'crunch' fixture came against South London at Bethune Park in March. A win would certainly have given Temple Fortune the runners-up spot in Division Three, leaders Marlborough having taken the title comfortably at that time.
Even a draw would have been enough to secure second place, assuming that Bar Kochba would be defeated in the final match. Unfortunately, South London denied the Seconds a set of deserved medals by winning 2-0 in a tense match. Perhaps the occasion got the better of the Second Xl because they did not play well on the day. Peter Kyte, such a powerhouse in the team and a major force behind the amazing revival, was sent off to add to the team's woes. The defeat left the Seconds level on points with South London who had a better goal difference.
Bar Kochba were duly beaten in the last match but sadly South London also won their game to pip the 2nds for second spot. It was all too easy to reflect upon that missed penalty against JLGB or those wasted points earlier on in the season. How crucial they all turned out to be. Nevertheless, Temple Fortune's Second Team at last stopped the rot by gaining promotion to Division Two albeit having finished in third position.
Peter Kyte certainly deserved his Player of the Year award for his incredible second half of the season; he went on to repeat his feat of 8 goals from midfield in the following year and also retained his Player of the Year award. Steve Feiger and John Nitka both scored 17 goals in all matches.
With the First Team reaching the Southern Final of the Peter Morrison Trophy and retaining their place in the Premier Division, the 1982-83 season was a great season for the Club and one of the most memorable.