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Dent taste cup glory as the Westmorland League title races heat up

Dent celebrate their win in the Junior Cup (Ben Challis)

Dent FC have won the Westmorland FA’s Junior Cup, edging out Keswick Reserves 2-1 in a thrilling encounter at the Pye Motors Stadium in Kendal on Wednesday evening.

This was a keenly anticipated battle, with both teams still battling for the Westmorland League’s Division Two Title, and this was the first of Dent’s two finals this year, with an appearance in the Mason & Freeman Cup coming up. The teams had already met twice this year, each winning once and each win by just one goal, and this was the first time Dent had ever reached this final, and Keswick last won the trophy some thirty five years ago, in 1983. All to play for!

With a lot of interest in the Final, excellent vocal support had travelled from both Dent and Keswick in some numbers, and the supporters were treated to a real battle. As soon as referee Mark Pentz blew his whistle to start the game, Keswick went on the attack, and for the first ten minutes this was all Keswick with Dent forced to defend against repeated attacks as Keswick laid siege to the Dent goal.

Keswick’s Charlie Robson had a powerful shot blocked on the goal line, Adam Gaskell and Adam Beaty both went close, and Ewan Clark had a headed shot steered just wide. But the Dent defence held, and held well. The next twenty minutes were more of the same, and although Dent started to steady the ship, there were continued Keswick attacks, with George Frampton firing in a number of corners, but all frustrated by the excellent Dent goal keeping by Morgan Brown and a defence well marshalled by Skipper Bryan Taylor.

On the half hour and against the run of play, Dent broke down the right wing and Rich Thexton fired in a powerful shot which went right across the face of the Keswick goal and the ball buried itself in the left hand bottom corner of the net. 1-0 to Dent.

Keswick kept up the pressure with Beaty, Joppy Hodgson and Dan Fletcher all close to scoring, but Keswick went into half time regretting numerous missed chances, and Dent pleased to have protected their lead so effectively.

The second half was a very different matter. Dent came out on the offensive and now it was Keswick who were forced onto the back foot with the defensive pairing of Dan Abbot and Ewan Clark forced to make some crucial blocks and challenges, with a fearless Clark making a crucial goal line tackle and clearance.

With Ben Jefferson now isolated in the Keswick attack, it was Dent who now looked more likely to score and score they did from a Martin Bainbridge in swinging corner which was struck in from the left and which fooled everyone in the box, sailing into the top right hand corner of Sam Page’s nets. 2-0 to Dent on 65 minutes.

The final twenty five minutes were end to end as Keswick fought to get back into the game, and Dent looked for the killer third goal. It was Keswick who scored next, on 85 minutes from Jefferson, but despite frantic pressure from Keswick in the last five minutes with Will Atkinson powering forwards, Dent held on for a famous win and Bryan Taylor lifted the trophy to a big roar.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, there were four James Cropper Westmorland League Division Two clashes and two Division Three clashes, and the headline news was Castletown’s 3-1 win over table toppers Carleton Banks which leaves the Division Two title race wide open with Carleton Banks, Castletown, Dent and Keswick Reserves all now in with a real chance of winning the championship.

Castletown’s win came on the back of an opening goal from Lamin Cham, an equaliser from Carleton Banks, a perfect penalty strike from Liam Robinson and a second goal from Cham to seal the win on 85 minutes.

Appleby Reserves edged a 3-2 win over AFC Carlisle, Braithwaite and Kendal Utd Reserves drew 1-1 with a result that doesn’t really help BFC’s relegation worries, and Staveley United Football Club and Greystoke had a nine goal thriller, won 4-5 away by Greystoke with two goals in the last five minutes. Greystoke look well clear of relegation worries now thanks to goals from David Ivinson, two from Francis Winn-Reed and two from Ben Dixon penalties.

In Division Three Endmoor KGR Reserves lost out to 2-4 to Lunesdale Utd despite going 2-0 up from a Bradley Hodgson first half brace, with Sky Alderson knocking in a second half hat trick for LUFC who stayed third. Kirkby Stephen kept up their title charge with a 6-0 win over Burneside with the goals from Damo McNaughton (of course) with two, Andy Lockheart, Scott Ostle, Dan Robinson and Matt Branthwaite.

In the First Division Midweek fixtures, Appleby kept their title hopes alive with a 5-1 win over Wetheriggs Utd with Appleby’s goals from Josh Addison Adams, John Coward, David Nugent, Jordan Crawford and Antony Lund.

Ibis won 2-0 over Ambleside Utd, and Penrith Reserves put five past Sedbergh Wanderers with no reply. Penrith Reserves were clear in fourth spot in the table with Ibis fifth, but Windermere SC, without a game, have games in hand and can catch them both.

On Thursday, Sedbergh were back in action in a very very busy week, this time a crucial ‘six pointer’ against Kendal County Reserves and Sedbergh took a major step towards Division One safety with an emphatic 6-0 win thanks to a Shaun Gardner hat trick, and goals for Andy Todd, Andrew Metcalfe and Man of the Match Liam Mason. Sedbergh were now three points clear of Kendal with a game in hand in the battle for survival.

At the weekend, Keswick closed in on the James Cropper Westmorland Division One title with a 6-1 win over Penrith Reserves and goals from Declan Robinson (3), Richard Bannister​, Karl Southern and Jamie Little​. Appleby kept up the pressure and reclaimed second spot, beating Kirkoswald 0-2 away with goals from Jack Overs and Antony Lund.

Shap battled from three nil down to draw 3-3 with Ibis and secure another vital point. Ibis went ahead with two goals from Josh Phizacklea and one from Shaun Askew, but Shap clawed the game back with two goals from Luke Fraser and one from Luke Pattinson. Sedbergh Wanderers also secured another vital point, drawing 3-3 with Windermere SC, with Sedbergh’s goals from Oli Wales, Jay Ferguson and Andy Todd. Endmoor KGR had a convincing 5-0 win over Wetheriggs United at the Dallam 3G pitch, with two goals from Matt Wilson, and goals for Sam Wilson, Nathan Dixon and Sam Daws.

In the battle for the Division Two title, the weekend matches saw fourth placed Keswick Reserves secure a great result at Frenchfield with a 3-3 draw against the in form and third placed Castletown United. The Keswick goals were from Cam Ball​ (2) and Charlie Robson​, and Castletown’s from a Ewan Willacy brace and Liam Robinson. Leaders Carleton Banks won, with a 1-4 win at Winderemere SC Reserves, and second placed Dent also secured a win, 2-4 at AFC Carlisle.

Eden Thistle crowd in on the Braithwaite goal (Ben Challis)

At the other end of the table, Braithwaite let a 1-0 half time lead slip, losing 1-3 to Eden Thistle to add to their relegation worries, and in the mid table battle, Appleby Reserves and Staveley United shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw with Tim Winnard on the score sheet for Staveley.

In Division Three, Kirkby Stephen went top, on goal difference – but with four games in hand, after a 6-0 win over Langwathby United with the goals from McNaughton hat trick, two for Andy Lockheart and a own goal.

Ibis let their grip on the top place slip, going down 3-1 at Maurice Park to Lunesdale United, with Ibis still second and LUFC third. Lunesdale were 2-0 up at half time with goals from a Tyler James free kick which powered into the top right hand corner of the net, and from Sean Boustead who out paced the Ibis defence and slipped the ball past the on coming keeper from ten yards.

As the half ended LUFC began to face pressure, with stand in ‘keeper Jack Stringer pulling off a finger tip save, and in the second half Ibis did pull a goal back, but Duncan Mackenzie made it three for Lunedale. Penrith Academy had a 1-0 win over Kirkoswald Reserves, and Penrith Saints lost 2-8 to Penrith Royal.

In the Smurfit Kappa Cumberland County League Premier Division midweek fixtures, Carlisle City lost 0-2 to Aspatria, with Aspatria’s goals from Dan Pearson and Darryl Creighton, and Netherhall lost out 1-4 to Workington Athletic whose goals came from Greg Quayle, Ash Kelly, Greg Armstrong and Ben Gregory. Netherhall’s goal was from Zach Little.

On Saturday there was just one League match, and Cockermouth’s season is ending on the up with another win, this one 3-2 over Cleator Moor Reserves with two goals for Rob Cox and one for Connor Cooke. Stamp and Todd scored for Cleator Moor. The top three of Wigton Harriers, Aspatria and Workington Athletic are now well clear in the fight for the title.

In the Whitehaven Cup Quarter Finals, Bransty Rangers had a 4-2 win over  Borough with goals for Mark Callan, Adam Smith, Kyle Jenkins and Daniel O’Pray. Borough’s replies were from Andrew Marshasea and Robbie Watson  Bransty will meet Pirelli on the 28th April in the Semi Finals, at Pirelli.

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