Old Bradwell United – 0
Aston Clinton – 0
(Old Bradwell United win 3-2 on penalties)
Old Bradwell United had to play eighty minutes of this Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two cup final with ten men to take the game into a penalty shoot-out where they held their nerve as Aston Clinton missed three of their five spot kicks which ultimately took the silverware back to Milton Keynes. A dour first half saw little goal mouth action, the second forty-five did create scoring opportunities but neither keeper seriously tested, a good crowd of almost two hundred then congregated at the clubhouse end to witness both sides score their first & third penalty each, whilst both missed their second each Bradwell didn’t miss again and over the crossbar efforts from Vinny Greco & finally Taylor Collins saw the men in black & white go on to lift the cup and celebrate in the bitterly cold Leighton Buzzard temperatures.
The first half was one to forget, an early Ash Clarke attack down the Aston left had Bradwell keeper Liam Jahn down low to his near post to smoother whilst at the opposite end Scott Valentine delivered a free kick into the Clinton penalty area but their custodian Liam Smith rose above everyone to gather with both hands. Then just ten minutes in the referee spotted an incident to which he blew his whistle, spoke briefly to striker Darryl Smith before flashing the red card at the United man to leave most of the crowd scratching their heads as to what had happened, later confirmed as by the official as being for spitting at Taylor Collins.
For the rest of the half the imbalance simply saw Old Bradwell defend anything the men in blue slung at them, a couple of long range efforts went over or wide, whilst a couple of brief attacks at the opposite end saw Valentine whip a cross into the six-yard box where Smith had to stun with his boot before pouncing to collect, and a Jakk Pursey curler from the corner of the eighteen-yard area bounce the wrong side of the far upright the highlights. H/T: 0-0
Clinton manager Neil Roberts gave his side ten minutes at the start of the second period until changing things up, defender Alex Little was sacrificed to make way for striker Chris Stapleton and within a couple of moments he made a clever run along the blindside of the Bradwell defence to get his head to a free kick, Jahn having to dive to push away for a corner, another set piece awarded to the men in blue saw Adam Beckett size things up acting as a decoy before Taylor Collins curled inches over the crossbar.
Billy Harrison ventured forward to slip a ball through the United backline for Lamar Mason-Williams to chase after but his first time effort wide of the target, a punt downfield for Ben Green to latch onto then saw some brilliant defending by Aston full back Luke Russel who had to slide in and time his interception to perfection inside the area to bring the threat to an end, their next move saw the Bradwell frontman get away from his marker but from the edge of the six-yard box poke into the side netting.
Another Green cross from the wing curled away to safety with no black & white shirts far enough forward to connect, Pursey showed some promise a minute later but curled over the top from eighteen yards, the long kick from Smith saw a flick on in midfield to Stapleton on the edge of the box, with back to goal he tried the acrobatic over the head spectacular but it was straight at Jahn. In added time Pursey drove straight at Smith from distance, the final action saw United substitute Toby Cribb chase down a loose ball on the flank before cutting inside and curling a drive over Smith’s crossbar. F/T: 0-0
Aston Clinton: Chris Stapleton scores 1-0
Old Bradwell: Jamie Cox scores 1-1
Aston Clinton: Joe Kittle saved 1-1
Old Bradwell: Jakk Pursey saved 1-1
Aston Clinton: Adam Beckett scores 2-1
Old Bradwell: Dale Collins scores 2-2
Aston Clinton: Vinny Greco misses 2-2
Old Bradwell: Zach Ferris scores 2-3
Aston Clinton: Taylor Collins misses 2-3
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