PENARTH TOWN 2
CARDIFF AIRPORT 0
GAINING revenge over opponents who had beaten them 2-1 in last year's final, Penarth Town lifted the Vale Soccer League's Premier Division Cup.
The Jenner Park pitch, although a little soft, was in great condition for Friday's final, with two nervy sides taking time to settle.
Airport started to get the upper hand, holding possession better and coming in with some strong tackles. However, Penarth's back four of Lewis Marsh, Anthony Angove, Jack Stansfield and Luke Horwood stood up well to the pressure, pushing the ball into the midfield for Kurtis Shapley and Leigh Bennett. They, in turn, fed in some good balls for Jamie Harris and Grant Beedell, one of which was headed just over the bar by the latter - probably the best chance of the game to that point. With the Penarth pressure leaving space at the back, Airport created a breakaway and, with Stansfield the last man, he made a goal saving tackle but hurt himself and had to go off. He was replaced by Curtis Boddy who, considering his young age, gave a fine account of himself. Shortly after, Airport had another break away and, with Town 'keeper Chris Hegarty beaten, the ball crashed back off the crossbar.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with both teams creating half chances but not really testing either 'keeper.
For the Town, Pete Ryan replaced Beedell and injected some decent pace down the flank but he was unable to produce the final ball. Jake Boza was doing the same on the other flank but was also finding it hard to break down a strong Airport defence. With no goals in the first 90 minutes, the game went into extra-time and, with both teams looking tired, it was a going to be a question of stamina.
Town eventually achieved the breakthrough when the Airport 'keeper failed to hold a shot from Harris which spun out of his hands and rolled into the net.
Penarth brought on Ryan McCarthy to provide some fresh legs and straight away he got stuck in and helped the effort.
All the Penarth players dug deep and, just before the end, as Airport pressed high up the pitch, a long clearance found Ryan in space and he chipped the sprawling 'keeper for the clincher.
With only a few minutes left, there was no way back for Airport and Penarth ran our worthy winners.
Penarth's other subs were Ashley Newcombe and James Williams.
This was a great day for Penarth Town, all associated with it and, of course, the players. Thanks are also extended to all those who came and supported both teams to make it such an enjoyable day.