Friday, 12 May 2017

Brigg Town (Res) 1 v Horncastle Town 1 AET - HTFC won 7-6 on penalties - Lincs League Challenge Cup Final

Friday 12th May 2017
Lincolnshire Football League Challenge Cup Final
At Lincoln Moorlands Railway FC, Newark Road, Lincoln
Brigg Town (Res) (0) 1
Ryan Thompson 81
Horncastle Town (1) 1
Nathan Rawdon 27
Horncastle won on 7-6 penalties AET
Admission £5 inc. programme
Attendance 250ish, rough and unconfirmed headcount
Flickr photo gallery: CLICK HERE
Prior to tonight, Horncastle had already recorded two wins over Brigg in the league so far this season and finished in fifth place, thirteen points ahead of the Zebras who ended their season in ninth.
Both teams finished their respective league campaigns with a four game unbeaten apiece and came into tonight's Challenge Cup Final as form teams in the Lincolnshire League, where the Wongers won 5-1 at Fulstow against CGB Humbertherm in their final game of the season, way back on April 22nd, while Brigg signed off from their campaign. with a 6-0 home win against Lincoln Moorlands Railway a week later.
It is ten years since tonight's victors last won any silverware and by way a couple of coincidences; that last final win, in the Supplementary Cup against Hykeham, was also played on the Moorlands ground and Mickey Stones, one of Horncastle's management team tonight, who have now claimed a trophy to mark their first season at the helm, was captaining the side that day.
It was Horncastle who made the better start to the game, with Ben Fidling and Jasper Caudwell, getting in amongst the Zebras defence down the left flank... while Brigg also had to be alert to the danger posed by a string of corner kicks, from both flanks, delivered by Nathan Rawdon.
The Wongers pressure paid fianlly paid off in the twenty seventh minute, when Thomas Cook saw Fidling's low cross late and could only push it away from his goal into the path of Rawdon who provided the finishing touch from close range.
Caudwell switched flanks and attacked in tandem with Rawdon, but Brigg held out and went in for half time, where they could regroup and refocus their efforts just a solitary goal behind, in spite of a lacklustre showing in the opening forty five minutes.
HT: Zebras 0 v Wongers 0
Arrgh! I thought it was a real Zebra
Brigg continued to struggle and made an inauspicious start to the second half too, as a lively crowd tried to lift both teams.
Horncastle went close twice with both full backs cutting in narrowly missing the goal with shots from the edge of the area.
Rawdon's corner found Caudwell whose snapshot flew just past the upright, while Fidling went close again.
Ryan Thompson found a way into the Wongers area but Lewis Burchnall, got down quickly to his right to tip the Brigg substitute's stinging shot round the post and Horncastle cleared the ball away from Jon Nicholls resulting corner.
With nine minutes remaining of the schedule ninety, Michael Jaksics muscled his way towards the Horncastle area and was tripped by Nadir Boulaid.
As the defence wall backed off and Burchnall guarded the left hand side of the goal, Ryan Thompson spotted his chance and crisply struck a shot that glided just inside the opposite upright out of the reach of stranded keeper.
The goal was, it must be said, against the run of play, but goals win games, not statistics and as Michael Harness couldn't get enough power behind a shot that Cook saved with ease, the game went into extra time, with the teams locked at one goal apiece.
90 minutes: Brigg 1 v Horncastle 1
For the second Friday night in a row, another Linolnshire Football League final was about to end in drama, following last week's ImminghamTown v Wyberton thriller at Sleaford Town.
With the lush pitch, that had been given a liberal soaking before kick off and again as extra time ensued, began to take it's toll on some weary legs, Horncastle took to containing the game across the middle of the park and playing direct balls forward for Harness to run onto... and the tactic almost worked, when the Wongers striker broke free with only Cook to beat, but he scuffed his shot wide of the post.
Harness attacked through the right channel and made it as far as the dead ball line, but hooked hiscross behind the Brigg goal, with his teammates piling forward to meet the ball.
ET HT: 1-1
Brigg 'ultras' utilise a stray fence panel as a shield against the rain
The game was getting bogged down in the middle third as the second period of extra time got underway, though Brigg had by now taken to using the whole width of the pitch in an effort to force the issue.
Charlie Dolling attacked down the right flank and put a great cross into the path of Michael Jaksics, but he was thwarted by a point blank save by Burchnall, while Elliott Andrews blocked Adam Gowling's effort with a header away from just in front of his own goal line from the rebound.
Burchnall launched a long kick into the Brigg area and amid a massive scramble as a scrummage of players tried to find a decisive touch, one way or another, the referee Neil Birkitt spotted an offence and dismissed Brigg's Josh Reed with two minutes remaining.
And as extra time came to a close, the score was still...
120 minutes - Brigg Town Reserves 1 v Horncastle Town 1
Horncastle's Rich Jackson got the shoot out underway, as he calmly put the first kick away, but with the shoot out standing at two-one in the Wongers favour, Burchnall saved Brigg's second kick from Gowing, but the referee ordered that the kick should be retaken because Burchnall was alleged to have stepped forward before the ball was struck... and Gowing made no mistake with his second chance.
Subsequent kicks swished into the goal netting until Jaksics was a tad fortunate that his effort spun into the goal off of Burchnall when he looked to have saved Brigg's sixth strike to keep things level and maintain a 100% success rate from the spot.
The Horncastle captain Chris Johnson stepped forward, he re-positioned the ball twice, took a short nervy looking run up and.... smashed the ball past Cook with some aplomb, with what was either a classic case of  kidology or a fortuitous example hit it and hope luck.
The Zebras skipper was next, he stepped forward autoritively and struck the ball well, but Burchnall got behind it and the cup was heading the the splendidly named Wong.
Scandanavian settlers named the pasture on which Horncastle Town play thus, check it out on Wikipedia if your curiosity is suitably pricked, this is a football blog, not a bleedin' history lesson.
FT: Horncastle Town won 7-6 on penalties.