Halstead Utd 2 Platt
Utd 2 (aet)
(Halstead won 3-0 on penalties)
Report courtesy of Derek Hodge.
There was high drama in the Craske and Wells Memorial Cup final last Thursday at Sundridge Recreation Ground when Halstead United lifted the silver trophy after a penalty shoot-out.
Three penalty saves by Halstead keeper Jim Capon ensured a happy ending for United who were appearing in their first final.
In rapidly failing light the final had gone into extra-time with the score level at 2-2 after 90 minutes. Halstead substitute Paul King had given his side a lifeline with an equaliser five minutes into injury-time.
An enthusiastic crowd of more then 100 spectators watched a final full of commitment, honest endeavour and a stirring fightback by Halstead who trailed 2-0 at half-time.
Two goals by Andy Bennett looked like being enough to give the holders victory. His first strike came on 12 minutes when a deep free-kick from the left caused problems in the air for Halstead. Capon lost out in the challenge with Bennett and the striker deflected the ball into the net.
The second goal came almost on the stroke of half-time when defenders Dominic Manning, Mickey Rowsome and Darren Glock lost possession 20-yards from goal and the eager Bennett was on hand to send a superb shot into the net.
Halstead could so easily have been on level terms had it not been for some inept finishing by Russell Tompkins who missed two golden opportunities from close range, one after excellent work by Glock down the right flank.
Tompkins made amends in the 53rd minute when he turned the ball into the net after sheer determination by Paul Burchatt had caused Dean Woodward to lose the ball in the left-back position allowing the busy midfielder to cross low to the near post.
Suddenly the holders were under pressure as Burchatt came into the game more. Halstead's two central defenders, skipper Rowsome, and Glock, also caused problems coming up from the back to support the front runners.
Peter Green was booked for a professional foul and then Halstead's Rickey Whitton was cautioned for a foul on Steve Davis who had an excellent game in midfield for the Mid-Kent side.
Platt had a good chance to increase the lead when keeper Capon miskicked from a back pass and the ball went straight to Gary Piper, who had a quiet evening, but he shot wide of the target with the keeper stranded.
Halstead began to sense they were still in with a chance while the Mid-Kent side seemed to lose some of their earlier composure and pattern.
Platt keeper Matt Clark, 17, was forced to make several good saves.
Super sub King had the last word when he scored deep into injury-time forcing the final into extra-time and the eventful penalty shoot-out.
Team: M.Clark, R.Bedford, M.Slade, C.Cable, T.Shaw, A.Bennett, P.Green, S.Davis, L.Gill, G.Piper, D.Woodward, J.Petty, P.Sebry.