On the night, and despite Keswick having the majority of the chances in the first half, it’s Appleby who take the Westmorland FA Benevolent Trophy home, due in no small part to their ability to convert their chances on goal, or rather Keswick’s inability to put the ball in the back of the net.
A good crowd had gathered at the Pye Motors Stadium in Kendal Town, and as the light faded and a fine drizzle wafted in, the 2016 winners Keswick started brightly and immediately attacked the Appleby goal. The first few minutes minutes were end to end, but on ten minutes a Appleby counter attack left Jordan Crawford unmarked on the right had side of the Keswick penalty box and he fired a powerful shot past Dan Gaskell to make it 1-0.
Keswick responded and a minute later Appleby’s stand in keeper Tony Ousby pulled off the first of a number of excellent saves from a low shot, and this was followed with a goal line clearance by the Appleby defence from a Stevie Hindmarch header just a minute later. Appleby then powered back up the field but the resulting header went high over the Keswick crossbar.
Twenty minutes into the game minutes Keswick had their closest chance of the match when a Richard Bannister strike bounced back out from the inside of the right had goal post. And five minutes after that, Appleby’s Bobby Atkinson hoofed a ball high over the Keswick crossbar. Thirty minutes in and Ousby pulled off the save of the match from a powerful Chris Rowley header that looked destined for the top right had corner of the net, and ten minutes after that Ousby dived low to his right to save another Bannister strike. The chances kept coming but the goals didn’t for Keswick: Rowley headed wide from the resulting Andy Rigg corner, and minutes after that the Appleby defence blocked a Sam Reilly header on the line, and yet more missed chances seemed to sum up Keswick’s day, so near, and yet so far.
Keswick went into the second half 1-0 down and knowing they needed goals, but Appleby came out far more settled and began to put together some good attacking drives and now it was Appleby with the chances, and on 65 minutes Atkinson struck home, and it was 2-0 to Appleby. Just five minutes after that the game was put to bed as Appleby made it 3-0 with a Dan Robinson strike from outside the right hand side of the box that soared over Gaskell’s reaching arms and into the back of the net. After one more fabulous save from Ousby, tipping the ball over the bar, it was game over for Keswick, and time for Appleby skipper Tom Armstrong to lift the Benevolent Trophy.
Keswick: Dan Gaskell, Sam Reilly, Lewis Cumber, Stuart Dowson, Chris Rowley, Stevie Hindmarch, Steven Hilton (C), Rory McDonald, Andy Rigg, Declan Robinson, Richard Bannister, Richard Bell, Thomas Devesa, Kevin Frampton.
Appleby: Tony Ousby, Anthony Lund, Dan Robinson, David Nugent, Dylan Critchley, Tom Armstrong (C) James Addison, John Coward, Jonathan Smith, Jordan Crawford, Lee Turnbull, Liam Knnear, Matt Branthwaite, Ross Parking, Bobby Atkinson
Match Officials: John Higgins, Kevin Clancy and Charlie Mulhall. 4th Official: Colin Miles.
Cumbria Crack Man of the Match Tony Ousby (Appleby)