Penalty drama decides Sunday Senior Cup Final
The photo shows former England and Sheffield United legend, Tony Currie, presenting the cup to the Royal Earl team manager Scott Bates and captain Spencer Goff.
The teams couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes as the game finished 0 – 0, however In extra time Ash Burbeary put Royal Earl in front only for John Hill to equalise in the last minute. After the initial five penalties the teams were still level, so it became sudden death with Royal Earl captain Spencer Goff scoring to give Royal Earl the advantage and then Alex Rippon’s spot kick crashed against the post.
Royal Earl had the first chance to break the deadlock when top goal scorer Chris Wood jinked through the High Noon defence to release a low shot which hit the near post.
The game became a battle in the middle of the park with both teams trying to gain the advantage, but there was nothing to choose between the two sides.
High Noon came close to breaking the deadlock when a smart corner from the left found Chris Barnes on the edge of the box who struck a low shot which forced Jamie Dean into a good save.
The second half carried on where the first left off as High Noon looked deadly on the counter attacked. Chris Barnes led the attack and switched the ball over to Lanzel Reid but his powerful shot was blocked by Dean and Barnes put the rebound wide.
Just after the hour mark, the High Noon defence were being forced deeper and goalkeeper Danny McDonald made two great saves in the space of a minute to keep out Burbeary and Sam Smith.
In the last five minutes, Bradley Handon was nearly the hero for High Noon when he hit a thunderous volley from all of 40-yards which looked destined to fly into the top corner, to the relief of keeper Dean, however, it just flew over the crossbar.
Handon then had a golden chance to grab a late winner but wasn’t able to get enough on the header after Reid’s deep ball into the box.
So the game went into extra time.
The half an hour was full of drama as the game became very open which meant chances were falling to both teams.
Finally Royal Earl broke the deadlock late in the second half of extra time when the threatening Burbeary raced onto a high ball which he managed to loop over the oncoming McDonald.
High Noon’s Hill was causing all sorts of problems down the left and he hit the bar with a few minutes to go when he cut inside onto his right foot and unleashed a curling effort.
It looked like Royal Earl would be able to see the game out but then Hill was slipped through down the left and was able to slot the ball home in the dying seconds which sent the game to penalties.
Scott Bates the Royal Earl manager said he was ecstatic when his side lifted the trophy.
He said: “To pick up the biggest cup we can play in, is a dream and no one deserves it more than this club. I thought we had scored the winner in extra time but High Noon are a very good side and got back into it, but I knew we had some fight left in us.”
The crowd of around 450 had witnessed a good, exciting game from two committed teams that was kept flowing by the referee, David Fields and his assistants Greg Roberts, Joe Barber and 4th official Colin Bailey.
Once again a big thank you from the County FA to Rotherham United for staging the game.