Monyhull Church 4 – St Andrews Netherton 4 (Monyhull win 8-7 on penalties)
Congratulations to Monyhull on picking up the Division Two Cup after an enthralling cup final at Coseley.
Thanks to John Millist for the match report and photos.
Of all my years playing football, this is greatest game I have ever been a part of and I would like to think, it will go down as one of the greatest cup finals WMCFL has ever seen.
Things didn’t start so well, with the changing rooms being double booked and being told we would have to share a dressing room (awkward) to a less then desirable pitch. You would have thought it was more of a friendly! However, as both sets of players started to arrive, the tension and nerves were all too visible, Netherton looking to win the double and Monyhull, second best in the league and in both games against Netherton, looking to win their first bit of silverware. If the lead up to the final was low key, the game itself was anything but, in what was an incredible advert for the WMCFL, the game swung one way, then the other, which was great for the crowd of 65 gathered, but not great if you were the manager!
The first 10 minutes were spent with both sides finding their feet and getting into the game, neither wanting to make an early mistake but players eager to get on the ball and play football. The deadlock was broken when a ball from the right was flicked on by Oli Smith and headed home by Pete Mander to send the crowd into jubilant celebration. With the game now freely flowing both sides looked dangerous going forward and both defences having their work cut out. But it wasn’t long before the ‘hull found themselves 2-0 when Jake Parton curled a free kick in, over the wall and in to the top corner. Monyhull were in dreamland! But we had been here before, having previously taken a 1-0 lead against Netherton in the last league outing we lost badly, and as if just to remind us of that, straight from kick off Netherton came forward and their dangerous no.9 got in round the back and lobbed the on rushing Webber to pull it back to 2-1. The tide started to turn, Monyhull now were having to defend hard, the usual composed ball playing had gone, replaced with a sense of panic and trepidation. Netherton took full advantage to level at 2-2 with a near post shot in the area. Things weren’t looking good, Webber in the Monyhull goal was being kept busy and had to pull off a “worldie” of a save when an effort was heading for the top corner, only for him to push it wide. Another effort hit the post and was then cleared off the line by Aaron Chance. Eventually the pressure told, when a diagonal ball found its target who ran in past the full back and slotted it home. 3-2 Netherton as we came to half time.
But this game was far from over and the same spirit that has been a key part to our season was reignited and early in the second half, the explosive Tom Hales ran in past the full back and tucked it home for 3-3. Now it was Monyhull pouring forward, looking to press ahead and a ball which hit the bar and came down was judged to not have been over the line, though there seemed plenty of evidence to the contrary. The game was to take yet another turn as Netherton attacked and found the roof of the net inside the area after a bit of a scramble to give St Andrews a 4-3 lead. Surely that was it, surely that was game over. With not long left, Reeson and Reiss Chance entered the game to try and turn it around again. Reiss Chance has had a habit all season of scoring goals from the bench and with time running out, Jake Partonbeat the keeper to the ball in the area and squared across the face of goal for R.Chance to stick it home and level the game up once again. The last five minutes saw Netherton search for the winner, they pressed the ‘hulls back line, but an incredible defensive display kept any further chances away and the game went to penalties.
After 5 each it was 3-3 and still the teams couldn’t be separated and so it went to sudden death. Both sides had chances to win it but in the end all outfield players had taken and at 7-7, it came down to the keepers. Netherton went first and hit it wide, which meant substitute keeper Luke Hardman could write his name in Monyhull history. He shot low and hard, the keeper got a hand but it went in and finally this incredible game was over and the ‘hull had won the cup! Fair play to Netherton who were gracious in defeat and contributed to a fantastic game of football, they will give division one some problems next season. It seems fitting that first vs second played the cup final and played it so well. As for my lads, I am incredibly proud of how the played, how they handled themselves and how the fought. Not just on the day, but all season. Its been a pleasure to watch and manage them and am delighted that they have created this memory for themselves, the team and the church. What a day!!!