The sun was beaming down on a stunning Bramall Lane surface as the Senior County Cup Final prepared to kick off between Penistone Church FC and Shaw Lane AFC. Penistone Chuch reached the final for the first time in their history at the end of a hugely successful season for a club that continues to grow. Shaw Lane return to the Senior Cup Final for the third year running as they look to retain their title.
Prior to Kick Off both teams participated in a minutes silence in remembrance of those that lost their lives at the Manchester terror attacks a year ago to the day.
The opening 10 minutes of the game saw both teams try to feel their way into the game and get hold of possession. The game changed possession on many occasions but neither side could create any clear openings. The first sight of goal came from a Penistone free kick that was delivered well to the back post but the resulting header was cleared away for a corner. The resulting corner was placed into the heart of the Shaw Lane box and met by an excellent leaping header drilled low past the keeper and into the net. Penistone 1-0 Shaw Lane. On the 20th minute, Shaw Lane broke well down the left but the ball is played back to the Penistone keeper who's clearance falls straight to Shaw Lane who fire the ball back at goal but is tipped over the bar well by the Penistone number 1. As the game progressed Shaw Lane started to gain confidence in possession and move the ball well through the thirds. A Shaw Lane free kick on the 25th minute was played wide, with the winger cutting inside, driving past the defender and firing a shot low on goal only to be denied by a great save. On the 32nd minute, after some excellent passing combinations from Shaw Lane, the ball found the number 8 in space who drove an excellent shot low into the corner from just outside the area. Penistone 1-1 Shaw Lane. Penistone reacted well to this as a ball from deep is placed high into the box and again met with a great header from Penistone Church that beats the keeper but is denied by the bar. Five minutes later and as a result of stealing the ball off Shaw Lane, a quick counter attack from Penistone releases the forward down the left who drives in at goal and looks to square the ball but lifts it past the Shaw Lane keeper and into the far corner. Penistone 2-1 Shaw Lane.
HALF TIME - Penistone Church 2-1 Shaw Lane
The second half started at a great pace with both teams looking for further goals immediately. Shaw Lane created several good passages of play in the early exchanges but could not manage to find a shot on goal. On the 53rd minute with continuing pressure from Shaw Lane the ball in from the right travels all the way across goal and reaches the left back to drills the ball back across goal to find the open man to slot the ball home for the equalizer. Penistone 2-2 Shaw Lane. Another come back from Shaw Lane to level the game and now it was back to Penistone to see how they would react. The reaction was positive as 2 minutes later a good passage of play down the right saw the ball delivered into the box, flicked on and met on the back post with a fantastic strike back across goal and into the Shaw Lane net. Penistone 3-2 Shaw Lane. Penistone regained their lead and regained their composure to deal with a Shaw Lane that start to move the ball with intent. Penistone's defense held strong and kept it shape for the next 15 minutes but on the 70th minute, a passage of the play from Shaw Lane down the left saw the ball drilled across goal and again slotted home for another equalizer. Good combination and pressure play from Shaw Lane made it Penistone Church 3-3 Shaw Lane. Penistone continued to move the ball well and tested the Shaw Lane keeper who was equal to this and denied them regaining the lead. With both teams failing to find a winner the game ends at 3-3 and we move into extra time.
FULL TIME - Penistone Church 3-3 Shaw Lane
Extra time started well with Shaw Lane looking to break in wide areas. The first chance came on the 94th minute as a break down the right saw the ball whipped low across the face of the Penistone goal only to be turned in by the recovering defender. An unfortunate goal for Penistone but a great ball in from Shaw Lane. Penistone 3-4 Shaw Lane. Shaw Lane lead to the lead for the first time of the evening.
HALF TIME - EXTRA TIME
The second half saw Shaw Lane again create a good opportunity as the ball is played across goal and met by a strong shot on goal but is parried away well by the keeper. Penistone relied well with a great break down the right, releasing the forward on goal who drills the ball across goal, its saved well by the keeper but falls to the Penistone forward whos shot fires back across goal but off the post. Hugely unlucky from Penistone after some excellent play. The intensity from both teams was clear and moments later a great break from Shaw Lane releases the forward 1-on-1 with the keeper but the keeper comes out on top with a great block. Another opportunity for Shaw Lane saw a powerful shot on goal blocked by the Penistone defender only to be ruled as hand ball by the referee. With the penalty awarded and with only a couple of minutes left, Shaw Lane had a great opportunity to put the game to bed. The penalty was placed powerfully into the left side of the goal but an excellent diving save from the keeper denied the goal to give a slim lifeline for Penistone Church. As they try to break to level the game, the Shaw Lane teams compact the space to hold onto their lead. With Penistone struggling to create any further chances, the referee calls time on the game and blows his final whistle.
FINAL SCORE - PENISTONE 3-4 SHAW LANE (AET)
Shaw Lane retain the Senior Cup title and become the 2017/18 Champions! A great performance from the team with some excellent examples of combination play and possession to create some excellent goals. Well done to all at Shaw Lane on a great season and good luck for next season.
A huge congratulations to Penistone Church for a fantastic performance full of grit and determination with pure desire to try and take the title. Although the result did not go the way they wanted the players and staff showed what a credit they are to the club and to local football. Well done on a great performance and good luck next season.
A final congratulations goes to the match officials appointed to tonight's final and on a well managed game. Well done to all and good luck with next season.
Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA would also like to say a big thank you to Dave McCarthy and all at Sheffield United Football Club for supporting the Senior Cup Final and allowing us to host this historic competition at such a great stadium. It is always good to see our professional clubs supporting local football and giving players the opportunity to play on a great pitch.