Hexham claim cup after last gasp drama
Published at 09:10, Monday, 06 August 2012
THERE was late drama in the final of the Stan Jackson Cup with Hexham winning it with a goal two minutes into injury time – just one minute after Ponteland United had levelled the tie.
United thought they had taken the game to penalties when Liam Anderson struck in the 91st minute, only to be left broken hearted when Hexham substitute Curtis Harvey pounced almost immediately at the other end.
From the restart, Hexham pumped the ball into their opponents’ box and Liam Heenan controlled the ball well, only for it to fall into the path of his brave strike partner, who slammed home the winner.
The trophy, which is part of the pre-season Clayton Charity Cup, is an added piece of silverware for the team following their Northern Alliance Division Two success last year.
The final at Allendale Sports Club was a subdued affair, with most of the play concentrated in the middle of the park with chances hard to come by.
After their 3-1 semi-final success over Alston, courtesy of strikes from Paul Ford, Billy Holden and Anderson, Ponteland started the game confidently, and were pulling all the strings.
On 12 minutes, Chris Armstrong, who played professionally with Sheffield United among others, nearly showed his Premiership pedigree with a rasping shot from a corner, but it was well blocked by Hexham’s Thomas North.
Moments later, custodian Mark Stobbart pulled off a point blank, low save on the line to deny Ford an easy tap-in at the back post.
Hexham grew in confidence as the half progressed, Tom Phillips firing inches over the bar on the turn after Patrick McAlindon’s free kick had been blocked by the wall.
They found the breakthrough on 35 minutes through man of the match North when he turned Ponteland’s star man Mick Rankin, before curling an excellent shot into the far corner from the corner of the area.
North was on fine form and struck another fine shot from the edge of the area, this time his effort sailing narrowly over.
United broke upfield and Ford capitalised on some slack play by Hexham, but Stobbart did well to get down and block his attempt on goal with his feet.
The second half was less eventful, the many midges attacking spectators the main talking point on the sidelines.
The first clear opening of the second period did not come until the 77th minute, Rankin testing out Hexham’s replacement stopper Carl Robinson with a thunderous drive from 20 yards.
Robinson, the main contender for the number one jersey, excelled by showing a strong wrist with an excellent one handed save.
He was called into action from the corner, doing well to emerge from a crowd of bodies to punch away Peter Scott’s header on goal.
With just two minutes to go, Rankin drilled a low shot which was destined for the bottom corner but Robinson got down quickly to fingertip it behind, although the officials awarded a goal kick to United’s frustration.
The late action continued as Heenan controlled Orin Parkinson’s cross to put the ball in the back of the net in the 90th minuted –but he was flagged offside and the one goal advantage remained.
Against Corbridge United U21 in the semis, Hexham had no such problems finding the back of the net, Luke Parkinson hitting a hat-trick, Canham and Scott Coates two each, and Matthew Blackith and McAlindon one apiece in a 9-0 demolition.
But they were nearly made to pay against Ponteland, when Anderson somehow managed to hit his free kick under the defensive wall and into the corner of the net.
Yet Hexham showed their resilience, Harvey knocking on the door for a starting berth with the crucial winner just seconds later.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk