Saints Seven Goal Blitz Wins Smiths Cup Final
Platt are unable to cope with frozen pitch
St Lawrence 7 Platt 2
St Lawrence became convincing winners of the Smiths Charity Cup when they overwhelmed Platt in the senior final at Greatness on New Year's Day. This completes a hat-trick of successes for St Lawrence in Smiths Cup finals during the last four years. In the 1976-77 season they won the junior trophy and in 1977-78 the intermediate cup.
Despite the afternoon kick-off, the Greatness pitch was still frozen solid, making playing conditions treacherous for the players.
The saints adapted to the conditions quickly and were soon creating some dangerous breaks through their wingers, Hodson and Stiles. With only four minutes gone an accurate through ball to Cobb beat the off-side trap, allowing the Saints' striker to push a well placed ball past keeper Steve Usher to put his side ahead.
Platt came back strongly and forced their opposition into some desperate tackling. A corner kick eluded the St Lawrence defence and Cunnew headed into his own net to equal the scores.
Platt built several good moves but Saints' keeper Terry Cronk completely dominated his area and caught everything that came his way, including a point-blank save when an opposition player went clear.
Broad and Whiffen (captain), who usually control the game for Platt, could not master the slippery conditions.
A quick free-kick from Knox resulted in Cobb taking the ball to the by-line. His cross went low across the Platt goal and Stiles struck the ball into the net to restore his team's lead.
Towards the end of the first-half the Saints' midfield began to find more space. Cunnew ran on to a cross but was brought down and referee John Gillam had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Cobb, who has missed two penalties in the previous Smiths finals, stepped up to take the kick, but his shot was saved by the Platt keeper. However, Cobb was quick to seize on the rebound and scored to give St Lawrence a 3-1 half-time lead.
Both teams came out in the second-half more aware of the limitations that the hard, slippery pitch imposed on the play.
But it was St Lawrence who settled down first to play some good one-touch football, putting the Platt defence under pressure. The Saints increased their lead when Cunnew ran at the opposition defence and struck a snap-shot which squeezed into the goal.
This was followed by what was probably the best goal of the match. The move started with St Lawrence defender Wordsell deep in his own half. The ball moved swiftly in a passing movement involving four Saints players before Hodson calmly headed in from close range.
With half-an-hour to go, Platt pulled a goal back after some determined pressure when a through ball caught Knox and Shirly square and Webb ran on to score.
At this point the Saints made a double substitution, Porter replacing Cunnew in midfield and Baldwin taking Ingram's place at right-back.
St Lawrence began to regain their control. Spurling collected the ball on the half-way line and jinked his way through the Platt defence before hitting a low swerving shot past Usher.
Platt gave away a free-kick on the edge of the area when Stiles was brought down and Knox's cross was headed on by Porter for Spurling to push in for his second goal.
This completed the scoring in a comprehensive and deserved victory. The game was well controlled by referee John Gillam and played in good spirit by both sides.
The cup was presented to Saints' captain Jeremy Knox by Jim Ellis, of Otford Builders Merchants, who has been helping to sponsor local soccer.