Derby Final Is Real Classic
Borough Green Rangers 1 Platt Res. 2
Report courtesy of Derek Hodge
This game was a throwback to the Cup ties of yesteryear containing an abundance of competitiveness, end to end play and plenty of goalmouth action. The only surprise was that the match did not produce more goals.
Platt Reserves withstood a fierce final quarter of attacking play by Borough Green rangers to lift the Smith's Charity (Intermediate) Cup before a healthy sized crowd at Greatness Park on New Year's Day.
Rangers and Platt arrived at the final boasting unbeaten records and it was always going to be a tightly contested affair. Both are to be congratulated on contributing greatly to an entertaining final.
Platt were ahead after 10 minutes against the run of play. A determined run down the right-flank by Paul Baker produced a shot cum cross which caught in the swirling wind and the ball dropped into the far side of the net with Rangers' goalkeeper Robert Twitchett looking on in astonishment. Baker fell awkwardly when crossing the ball but recovered after a lengthy spell of treatment.
After an enthusiastic start by Rangers this setback appeared to shake their confidence but urged on by midfielder Trevor White they gradually began to make an impression down the right-hand side where the fleet-footed Richard Holder caused problems for the Platt defence.
An uncharacteristic error on the half-way line by Platt central defender Robert Gill let Ian Chirnside in who took the ball forward in full stride. He found himself with just keeper James Petty to beat but struck his shot tamely at the custodian. The normally reliably Chirnside was furious at missing such an easy chance but then it was Platt's turn to miss in front of goal.
Paul Brackell did well to evade several lunging tackles as he went through the Rangers' defence on a diagonal run from the left. Having found an open space and with several colleagues queuing up for the pass he shot straight at keeper Twitchett who was unable to hold the ball and it rebounded to Gilbert who thrashed a tremendous shot goalwards but the ball ricocheted off a Platt player for a goal-kick.
Twitchett was again in action soon afterwards following a poor goal-kick which went straight to Baker whose fierce shot was well handled by the keeper. Soon afterwards it was Platt's turn to be on the defensive as a high cross from the left by Chirnside was misjudged by Petty but referee Mr F.Manville had spotted an infringement and awarded a free-kick to Platt.
The drama continued as Chirnside beat the offside trap and in a one on one situation with Petty screwed his shot wide of the left upright and then Holder lost control of the ball when in a good scoring position. The half ended with Platt forcing three corners in succession, Rangers Malcolm Thomas striking a free-kick across the face of the goal and Platt right-back David Dixon being booked for a foul on Gary Adams.
Neither Baker nor Dixon appeared for Platt at the start of the second-half having been injured and were replaced by substitutes John Thornley and Mark Wygens. With the wind in their favour Rangers attacked immediately and Holder just failed to connect with a cross in front of goal.
A nice move down the left between Thomas and Humphreys and a cleverly flighted cross found Chirnside moving off his marker. Chirnside headed the ball downwards to Holder whose first-time shot was well saved by Petty.
On the hour and with the Rangers defence pushing up Thornley was put through but his shot struck Twitchett. The ball rebounded back to the substitute but his second shot went wide of the right-hand post with the goal at his mercy.
A fierce midfield was going on between the Rangers duo of Humphreys and White and the Platt pairing of Martin Shooter, later to receive the man-of-the-match award and Brackell.
White's free-kick from the left of the halfway line was misjudged by Gilbert and the ball went for a corner. The resultant flag kick was cleared and then White was again at the centre of the action with a shot which was smothered by the Platt keeper with Shooter in close contention.
On 68 minutes a long diagonal pass by Gilbert split Rangers' defence and Steve Arnold put Platt 2-0 ahead. Rangers hit back immediately and there were strong appeals for a penalty when Thomas appeared to be brought down inside the area.
Rangers were now looking the fitter side as they pushed forward in search of further goals. John Pude deflected a shot onto his crossbar and the wind continued to play tricks with shots by White and Humphreys going close.
With Rangers now using the width of the pitch they began to stretch the Platt defence and a cross by Humphreys found the unmarked Chirnside who headed home.
Another good move down the left gave Holder a chance but his shot was deflected for a corner and then Chirnside, with Petty out of his goal shot wide of the target.
Team: J.Petty, J.Pude, R.Gilbert, D.Dixon, S.Arnold, M.Shooter, P.Brackell, M.Allen, D.Weller, S.Martin, P.Baker, J.Thornley, M.Wygens.