Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Game 55: Laverstock & Ford 3.4 Calne Town (Wilts Senior Cup Final) 04.05.10

After a short break in Texas that included a trip to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, it was nice to be back on home soil to take in a short drive up to the Ray Mac for the Wiltshire Senior Cup final. Both finalists had similar seasons that ended in relegation, Calne finishing bottom of the Western Premier and Laverstock finishing second from bottom in the Wessex Premier.

Calne took the lead in the 7th minute from a breakaway attack. The ball was played over the top of the Laverstock defence, allowing a Calne player to take it down the right side before crossing to a team mate on the left side of the box. He put the ball into the area where an unmarked teammate placed a header past the keeper.

A good start almost became a dream start two minutes later. A freekick from the edge of the area hit the post and rebounded out to a Calne player. His effort came back off the crossbar to another teammate who hit the ball into the goal only to be given offside. Calne were dominating play and almost scored again with a header in the 18th minute from a corner, only to see the post come to Laverstock’s rescue again. In the 25th minute the Laverstock defence was found wanting again as a Calne player was left unmarked in the box. His header was blocked by the keeper who managed to push the ball away from the feet of an onrushing Calne player.

Laverstock had their first genuine chance to score in the 28th minute. A low cross from the left found a Laverstock player in the box but he put his shot well wide. This seemed to put some urgency back into the Calne players and they extended their lead in the 30th minute. A ball into the penalty area again found an unmarked player who scored with a close range header. Laverstock had a couple of opportunities to pull a goal back before half-time but a goal-line clearance and a shot played straight at the keeper preserved Calne’s clean sheet.

Laverstock found themselves 3.0 down in the 55th minute after losing possession of the ball in midfield. The Calne player moved into the centre and took a low shot that was deflected past the keeper and in. It looked as if it would be game up for the local team but they managed to pull a goal back in the 61st minute thanks to a bad error by the Calne keeper. The ball came into the six yard box from a corner and the keeper went to catch it but managed to miss the ball, allowing a Laverstock player in to score with a header into the unguarded net.

Laverstock heads were now up and they had two good chances to reduce the deficit further in the next two minutes. The first opportunity saw a long throw knocked down for a rising shot that just cleared the crossbar. The second was a header over the bar from a deep cross. Laverstock made the most of this momentum in the 65th minute when a forward went through and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper. Unbelievably it was 3.3 less than a minute later as a long ball was pumped into the area and headed over the keeper and in.

Parity had been restored and it seemed that Laverstock would go onto win it but their wild celebrations were forgotten a couple of minutes later when Calne scored the best goal of the evening. A Calne player took the ball down the right, beat his man and cut inside to pass the ball into the area. The pass found a teammate who curled a superb shot past the Laverstock keeper and into the net. Laverstock didn’t give up and the final twenty minutes saw them putting pressure onto Calne but they couldn’t quite manage another comeback. The best chance came eight minutes from time when a high looping header came down onto the crossbar with the keeper beaten and bounced over.

After the final whistle, the Calne players received their medals and the trophy before walking down to take the applause of their supporters and others who had enjoyed a thrilling final. With their recent relegation in mind, the tongue in cheek chorus of “We’re shit and we know we are” went down well with the crowd who appreciated a team that had given their all in today’s match even if that hadn't been the case throughout the season.