Monday, 22 May 2017

Macclesfield Town 2 York City 3

Buildbase FA Trophy Final, Sunday 21st May 2017 (at Wembley Stadium)

A late goal from Aidan Connolly goal saw York City win a pulsating final against Macclesfield Town at Wembley and end a difficult season with a Trophy. The Cheshire side immediately put the Minstermen under serious pressure in the first six minutes however York then took the lead with their first attack of the game in the 7th minute when a free kick saw John Parkin glance home a header into the bottom corner. Macclesfield regathered themselves though and found a leveller just six minutes later when after a corner saw a poor headed clearance fall to Rhys Browne, he managed to fire an effort home between the keepers legs and it was all square. However with their second attack of the game York restored their lead midway through the half when a cross to the back post saw Vadaine Oliver stretch out a leg to convert into the net. Macclesfield though continued to have the better of the game despite finding themselves behind but just as it looked as though York would take a slender lead into the break the Silkmen found a leveller in first half stoppage time, and what a goal it was, as Ollie Norburn rifled an unstoppable effort from way out into the net and the sides went into the break all square. It had been one of the best halves of football I’ve seen for sometime, breathtaking.

Macclesfield Town 2 York City 2

Everyone had just about recovered from that incredible half when the second period began, although it unsurprisingly started a little quieter than the first half had. And after an hour the score remained 2-2 although it was still an exciting contest, with the Silkmen just on top still. Macclesfield continued to carve out chances but found York keeper Kyle Letheren, who had returned to the starting line up for this final, in inspired form, to frustrate the Cheshire outfit. As the game entered its final stages you wondered if anyone could find a winner, and although Macclesfield looked likelier to find one, the longer they didn’t the more you thought York would have one more chance and win this contest, and sure enough with four minutes left the Minstermen found that winner, as John Parkin’s effort bounced towards goal and saw Connolly poke over the line and send the Red Quarter of Wembley wild. York managed to see out the remaining few minutes and take a welcome win after what has been a largely difficult campaign. Macclesfield will wonder how they lost this one but York dug in and gave themselves a chance, which they took.

Macclesfield Town 2 York City 3

Cleethorpes Town 0 South Shields 4

Buildbase FA Vase Final, Sunday 21st May 2017 (at Wembley Stadium)

A clinical South Shields defeated a plucky and battling Cleethorpes Town to end a wonderful season in style and win the FA Vase at Wembley. The opening quarter hour saw Shields take the game to their opponents and probably felt they should of taken one of their chances they created however Cleethorpes managed to hold on and as they game reached the half hour mark Cleethorpes did have a couple of openings however the Mariners were still looking the more likely to score. And three minutes before half time they were given a golden chance to take a deserved lead when Gavin Cogdon was brought down inside the box, and Carl Finnigan duly sent the keeper the wrong way to give them the lead. Cogdon then saw an effort tipped onto the post late in the half as Shields so nearly doubled their lead before half time but they did go into the break good value for their lead, although it was only a one goal lead.

Half Time Cleethorpes Town 0 South Shields 1 

Shields continued their dominance in the early exchanges of the second period and saw them see an effort from David Foley tipped onto the bar early in the half as they were again looking more likely to get the next goal. But while it was only 1-0 Cleethorpes knew one moment could see them back on level terms and they again had their moments but saw the Shields back line deal with whatever came their way. Shields though continued to pass up several chances, that was until ten minutes from time when a free kick swung in saw Dillon Morse head home at the back post before the Mariners added two more late on, making it three with four minutes left when Foley slotted beyond the keeper after finding himself clean through, and then they made it four with a minute remaining when Foley got his second by thumping a wonderful effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the box and seal a terrific win to take the FA Vase.

Full Time Cleethorpes Town 0 South Shields 4

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Jolof Sports Club 2 Old Esthameians 2 (Old Esthameians won 4-2 on penalties)

Essex Alliance Football League Premier Division Cup Final, Tuesday 16th May 2017

The final Essex Alliance Football League Cup Final of the season took place on Tuesday evening at Victoria Road and it was potentially going to be the best of the lot as Premier Division winners Jolof Sports Club took on runners up Old Esthameians in the Premier Division Final.
Jolof won seventeen of their twenty league games to win the title by eight points but Old Esthameians were no mugs either, having pipped Chingford Athletic to the runners up spot.
And the first chance arrived with barely a minute gone and it was Old Esthameians who saw a close range header well saved before moments later they sent another effort wide. Jolofs first chance came on ten minutes when they sent a shot just wide of the far post.
On the quarter hour mark Old Esthameians curled one just over the bar and midway through the half it was Jolofs turn to have an effort at goal, striking a decent shot wide of the post from just inside the box.
However despite these chances the game was being played at a slow tempo and wasn’t really living up to its pre match billing. On the half hour a great ball in from Old Esthameians saw an effort on the stretch diverted towards goal but saw Jolofs keeper tip over brilliantly.
But then in the 34th minute the deadlock was broken as a Jolof Sports corner was headed home and saw the Premier Division champions edge in front in this tight competitive contest.
Old Esthameians probably felt hard done by to be behind and they came so close to levelling it up five minutes before half time as a close range volley hit the underside of the bar and bounced out although it looked close to being over the line.
And two minutes before the break Old Esthameians went close again as a loose ball fell to them but the effort went just wide before a ball across goal from Old Esthameians just invaded them then another effort was saved by the Jolof keeper. It meant Jolof went into the break with a slender lead.
Half Time Jolof Sports Club 1 Old Esthameians 0
Old Esthameians began the second period on the front although they could still not find a way through. Ten minutes into the half Jolof found themselves in but saw a defender get back to block, although the Old Esthameians defence were claiming offside which fell on deaf ears.
Another good save from the Jolof keeper in the 57th minute from a close range header denied Old Esthameians again before two minutes later Jolof went close as a ball across goal eventually saw an effort tipped wide from twelve yards, before the corner went right across goal and somehow missed everyone.
Just past the hour mark a shot from Old Esthameians was saved at the near post but in the 65th minute they found a deserved leveller as a poor free kick was not cleared and saw Esthameians convert from close range and it was all square.
But Old Esthameians were to kick themselves no doubt as with fifteen minutes remaining a simple ball through their defence saw Jolof run onto it and loft home beyond the keeper and the Champions had the lead once again.
Moments later Jolof found themselves in again but this time their effort hit the side netting as they looked for that third goal that would surely seal their win. They passed up three more opportunities to seal the deal in the final ten minutes whilst Old Esthameians were trying their best to get back into the game.
But just as it looked like a Jolof victory Old Esthameians struck in the 94th minute, hitting an effort into the bottom corner with the last kick of the contest, to take the final to penalties. And with the momentum all with Old Esthameians after that they unsurprisingly won the shootout 4-2 to take the Premier Division Cup crown in dramatic style.
Full Time Jolof Sports Club 2 Old Esthameians 2 (Old Esthameians won 4-2 on penalties)

Monday, 15 May 2017

Sporting Hackney Reserves 1 Three Colts 4

Essex Alliance Football League Division One Cup Final, Monday 15th May 2017

Cup final number four in the Essex Alliance Football League took place on Monday evening as Sporting Hackney Reserves took on Three Colts in the Division One Cup Final at Victoria Road.
Three Colts would of gone into the contest as favourites after they finished third, ten points and three places above their opponents in the league table, but Cup Finals can be unpredictable as we all know.
However just two minutes into the contest Colts took the lead with a terrific free kick that was bent into the top corner for what was a great start for the Chingford/Buckhurst Hill side.
But Sporting should of levelled two minutes later as the ball fell to them inside the box but the effort was hit wide from a great position and Colts breathed a huge sigh of relief.
The next chance fell to Colts in the 18th minute when a free kick whipped in saw a close range header put wide of the near post but then in the 20th minute Sporting found an equaliser from a free kick of their own which was whipped over the wall and zipped off the wet surface and into the corner of the net.
Midway through the half a cracking long range effort from Colts flew inches over and the just before the half hour mark Colts burst in down the right but a defender managed to get back and help see the effort go wide of the near post.
However just past the half hour mark Colts restored their lead as a corner was flicked home as yet another set piece did for Sporting and in the 34th minute a Colts free kick skipped off the wet surface and the keeper had to parry away to prevent another goal.
Seven minutes before half time another free kick into the Sporting box saw a defensive header go inches over, with the resultant corner hit inches wide, before another set play did for Sporting as Colts increased their lead two minutes before half time when after a corner was not dealt with, the loose ball was converted from close range.
Right on half time Sporting saw an opening fired over after a free kick had broken to them, but it was Three Colts who had the two goal lead at the break and control of this tie.
Half Time Sporting Hackney Reserves 1 Three Colts 3
The next goal was crucial to determine where this tie was heading and five minutes into the half Sporting launched an attack down the right but a good cross was well cut out before it reached the Dangerzone. Moments later however Colts made it four when a defence splitting pass saw Colts through on goal and an effort slotted home beyond the keeper, and you thought it was game over at that point.
Colts fired another effort over soon after before Sporting got in on goal but a great tackle thwarted them, before Colts then fired over again down the other end in a hectic passage of play.
Things settled down a bit after that and in the 71st minute a mistake at the back allowed Colts a sight of goal but the effort was blasted over. Colts though were cruising in this contest now.
And so into the final ten minutes and despite the fact Sporting were now seeing more of ball, Colts looked more than comfortable, although it had to be said fair play to Sporting to continue and make go or it as they could of easily crumbled after the fourth goal but kept going.
Sporting had one last chance to add a late second deep in stoppage time, but they could only slice an effort wide of the far post, but it was too little too late as Three Colts ran out deserved winners and take the Division One Cup.
Full Time Sporting Hackney Reserves 1 Three Colts 4