Cumbria Crack
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Netherhall triumph in Benevolent Cup

Netherhall win the Benevolent Cup 2016 (Photo Ben Challis)
Netherhall win the Benevolent Cup 2016 (Photo Ben Challis)

2015 Premier League champions Netherhall met 2016 League Division One champions Silloth in the final of the Smurfit Kappa Cumberland County League’s Peter Dawson Benevolent Cup at the Falcon Ground in Egremont in the final game of the season on Saturday afternoon.

Silloth reached the final with a 6-2 win over Whitehaven Amateurs in the first round, an 8-4 win over Whitehaven Miners Reserves in round two, an impressive 4-3 victory over newly crowned Premier League champions Workington Athletic in the Quarter Finals and an equally impressive 4-2 win over Ken Glover Memorial Shield winners Windscale in the Semi Finals. This year’s Conway cup holders Netherhall path to the final was from a 2-0 victory over Wigton Harriers in the Semi Finals, and an emphatic 4-1 win over Cleator Moor in the Semi Finals.

From the kick off the teams looked evenly matched, and for the first 20 minutes the advantage was with Silloth as they made repeated attacks on the Netherhall goal – and keeper Craig Rule had to make a number of important saves.

But it was Netherhall who scored first when No 4 Shaun Smith hoofed a long high shot at the Silloth goal which went in over the arms of the keeper to give Netherhall a crucial lead. The goal seemed to settle Netherhall, who began to dominate the game and just six minutes later No 10 Darren Rule made a run at the Silloth goal and the defence seemed to fall away – leaving him free to score. 2-0.

And six minutes after that on 35 minutes it was 3-0 when Andy Lowes picked up a free kick sent up from his own half to head home. It now looked like being a whitewash, and Silloth went into half time staring defeat in the face.

Two minutes after the game re-started it was 4-0 to Netherhall after another Andy Lowes goal. Everyone must have thought it was all over. But no-one gave Silloth the script! Throwing caution to the wind, Silloth now piled forwards in numbers, and again began to dominate the game, with Craig Rule making more vital saves in the Netherhall goal.

On 53 minutes, during yet another Silloth attack, a player was brought down in the penalty box. Ignoring the appeals for a penalty, referee Mark Hunter let the game run, and a sensible No 8 Lewis Mulla, who was focussed on the game, rather than appealing, slotted the ball in for a Silloth goal. 4-1. Silloth kept piling on the pressure and were rewarded with a second goal on 63 minutes courtesy of Stuart Johnson.

The game was now wide open again and Silloth nearly got a third ten minutes later after winning two corners in quick succession, but they just couldn’t convert these into a goal.

It was end to end stuff now but on 84 minutes Netherhall’s No 3 ran almost the whole length of the pitch, passing to No 15 Chris Dawes, who put the game beyond doubt with Netherhall’s fifth and final goal. Silloth had fought a valiant battle and for two sizeable chunks of the game were the better team – and never gave up.

But Netherhall played well, defended well and crucially took their chances in front of goal – a 5-2 victory – and worthy winners of the Cup, presented to the victorious side by Cumberland FA chief Ben Snowdon.

Netherhall: Craig Rule, Jake Dunstan, Adam Tinnion, David Cresswell, Adam Johnson, Gary Pearson, Jamie Bethwaite, Ryan Porter, Joe Phillipson, John Fidler, Ben Byers, Paul Vicars, Nick Holden, Christopher Dawes, Shaun Smith, Dan Burgess, Kieth Anderson, Andrew Lowes, Lewis Patrick, Zach Little, Ellis Short, Cameron Carter, Darren Rule

Silloth: Luke Stockdale, Ryan Hanley, Dan Foster, Stuart Johnson, Dean Barton, Lewis Mulla, Andy Hardman, Robbie Carter, Adam Carr, Reece Blake, Kieran Little, Kris Nichol, Shaun Clark, Andrew Trestinau, Mikey Hill, Nico watt, David Bragg, Carl Lightfoot, Luke Graham, Gareth Lewis

Match Officials: Mark Hunter, Phil Murphy, Ben Scott, Johnny Walker

Cumberland FA Man of the Match: Craig Rule

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