Amble St Cuthbert 5 Wansbeck AFC 5 (Amble win 4-2 on penalties)
North Northumberland Football League – Runciman Cup Final
Amble St Cuthbert won their first silverware in only their third season after a remarkable match of cup drama at Ashington CFC’s Woodhorn Lane ground on Saturday.
Their opponents had comfortably won Division Two of the North Northumberland League with a plus-78 goal difference, while the Cuddies had finished 18 points behind in fifth.
Predictably enough, the Ashington side started confidently and St Cuthbert’s were practically parked in their own penalty area for the first 20 minutes.
However, the back four stood firm with Tim Hamilton and Joe Henderson working their socks off in the middle of the park, and keeper Sean Straker comfortably did the little he had to.
Gradually, the pacey Amble attack showed signs of the danger it posed and just before the half hour mark, winger Liam Ramsay combined well with striker Thomas Stones, and got a chipped shot away to give the Cuddies the lead.
The Amble side were then looking the better team and created a few half chances.
A gee-ed up Wansbeck side began the second half on the attack and within seconds a well-delivered corner kick was headed in at the back post and within a further five, ex-Amble United Brent Aisbitt ended a mazy run with a strong shot which Straker could not quite tip-over, 2-1 Wansbeck.
The young Cuddies were not to be overrun however, and gradually regained their composure, and on 65, Thomas Stones’s free-kick eluded everyone in a crowded area (2-2).
Within five minutes Amble were back ahead, striker Brad McClelland excellently lobbing the keeper.
Fortunes swung again though as Mick Stewart, otherwise excellent throughout, brought down a Wansbeck striker just inside the Amble box, and the penalty was impressively slotted home.
There were few further opportunities for the tiring teams until a frantic goalmouth scramble denied Wansbeck the victory in the last minute, with Straker saving well followed by what seemed two or three goal-line clearances, with left-back Arron Thompson performing some heroics for the Cuddies.
The tie entered extra-time and Wansbeck pushed for victory, taking the lead with another headed corner kick.
Tiredness seemed to be taking its toll on the young Amble side, and all seemed lost as goalkeeper Straker, seemingly unsure whether to gather a possible back-pass, was tackled and Wansbeck took advantage to lead (3-5).
All St Cuthbert’s substitutions had been made in response to exhausted or injured players when Thompson had to be carried from the field at half-time in extra-time after falling awkwardly.
However, remarkably the St Cuthbert’s 10 lived up to their patron saint’s reputation and bravely rallied, with live wire centre-half Matty Nicholls stepping into midfield and the substitutes pressuring the Wansbeck defence.
Then McClelland beat the Wansbeck defence in the air heading in a Stones free-kick (4-5).
In the 118th minute a further free-kick was earned, and Stones delivered it beautifully from a full 30 yards out only to see it hit the angle of post and cross-bar, but goal-scoring super sub Ethan Iredale seemed to be on hand to nod in, no-the ball was blocked on the line by the back of McClelland, but Iredale was not to be denied somehow scooping the rebound in to the jubilation of the vocal travelling support some of whom could not resist joining in the players celebrations.
Full time 5-5.
The penalties followed, and unsurprisingly Wansbeck did not look happy to be involved.
Keeper Straker took and missed the first. Wansbeck’s first sailed wide.
Timmy Young, who scored the Cuddies’ first ever goal nearly three years ago, coolly slotted home, and Straker saved to make amends. Stones and Reece Ramsay despatched further excellent penalties, followed by scores for Wansbeck (3-2).
McClelland stepped up, and slotted the penalty coolly down the centre.
The Cuddies had won a Cup, but football was the biggest winner.
Can the Bilclough Cup (likely to be played on May 16, at Berwick) be added to the newly formed honours list?
Official man of the match: Brad McClelland but here are the scores for the AStC team from their manager Sam Palin: S Straker 10, M Davison 10, A Thompson 10, M Stewart 10, M Nicholls 10, J Henderson 10 (86min E Iredale 10), L Ramsay 10 ( 91 min T Young 10), T Hamilton 10 (72min D Moyle 10), B McClelland 10, R Ramsay 10, T Stones 10. Sub unused but appreciated C Smith.
Thanks to all supporters and to Longstaffs Coaches for transport.
Springhill 1 Tweedmouth Rangers 2
Sanderson Cup Final
Goals from Peter McAskill and Craig Colquhoun saw Tweedmouth Rangers lift the Sanderson Cup with a win over local rivals Springhill, whose goal-scorer was Michael Antcliffe, on a rainswept Friday night at Shielfield Park.
Shilbottle 10 Bamburgh Castle 1
Laidler/Lancaster Cup, Semi-Final
Shilbottle stormed into the final of the Laidler/Lancaster Cup with this crushing victory over Bamburgh Castle at the Welfare ground.
Four goals in the first 10 minutes effectively killed the tie and the visitors could find no way back.
The game opened with a cracking drive from Phil Grey being turned around a post by the Bamburgh keeper, but from the resultant corner a fine hooked volley from the edge of the box by Ron Murray put the Colliers ahead.
A decent cross from Chris Graham was headed home by Josh Hay on four minutes for the second and Jaden Hindhaugh added a third shortly after.
When Richard Brown nipped in for the fourth after only 10 minutes play, the game was just about over.
Bamburgh pulled a goal back through Johnny Johnson after 20 minutes but a further strike from Hay on the half-hour had the Colliers 5-1 in the lead at the interval.
The goals continued to flow in the second period and Matty Graham got on the scoresheet following a good square-ball from Paul White.
Josh Hay complete his hat-trick on the hour-mark to make it seven and Richard Brown followed up shortly after for his second and the Colliers’ eighth.
Bamburgh rarely threatened during the second half and a further two late goals from Matty Graham brought up his hat-trick and double figures for the Colliers as they strolled into the final, where they will meet Duns FC from the Borders at Shielfield Park, Berwick, on Friday, May 9, at 7pm.
Shilbottle: A Wilson, P White, C Graham, P Grey, R Hume, R Murray, J Hindhaugh, M Graham, L Brooks, J Hay, R Brown, S Shendon, S McEwan. Shilbottle SFC Pizza man-of-the-match: Matty Graham. Match sponsor: Shilbottle Village Store.
Chris Coe netted a hat-trick for Rothbury and a Michael Gold goal made up their total in a win over Red Row Welfare, whose goal-scorer was Paul Smith from the penalty-spot.
James Guthrie and Kyle Jeffries both netted twice as Wooler Reserves beat Lynemouth Anglers United.