Chairman’s Cup final
Hertfordshire Lions clinched what is a likely cup and league double after they easily defeated Cassiobury Revolution 5-1 in the final of the competition at Gaywood Park on Sunday.
Lions’ success this season has been built on the basis of a very settled side. Six players have been ever presents and the other members of the side have only missed a handful of matches.
That consistency in team selection, which isn’t always present in many Sunday teams, certainly showed in the final.
In contrast, Cassiobury manager Ross Fowler made a shock decision to leave regular starters Gregg Anscombe and second top goal scorer Rob Dilkes on the bench.
In-front of a crowd of 110, it was Lions who started the strongest and they went ahead in the second minute when captain Jack Middleton, up from the back, headed the ball into the top corner, giving keeper Chris Massey no chance.
It was all one-way traffic towards the Revolution goal for the majority of the first half with the excellent Carl Biggs and Mitchell Holt at the heart of the Lions attack.
Slowly Revolution did try and establish a foothold in the game with Darren O’Brien looking their most dangerous player.
But it was Lions who went closest to increasing the score when Dennis Fraser struck the crossbar from 30 yards out.
Despite making a double substitution at the break, Cassiobury’s hopes of getting back into the match were dealt a blow six minutes after the restart when Holt fired home the ball at the back post after a run and cross from Carl Biggs.
A third goal followed six minutes later after an excellent finish from Louis McNamara from the edge of the area.
It was 4-0 just past the hour mark when Biggs got a deserved goal from close range after a swift counter-attack from their own box.
The fifth and final Lions goal came with 11 minutes left. Substitute Tom Weaver lobbed the ball into an empty net with goalkeeper Massey stranded off his line.
Cassiobury never gave up and got a goal in the dying moments when Middleton got on the scoresheet when he deflected the ball past John Battams for a consolation.
Hertfordshire Lions: Battams, Middleton, Thornhill, Rosson, Balmer (Turberfield 45), Benedetti, Biggs (Carroll 77), McNamara, Fraser, Holt (Balmer 70), Carroll (Weaver 45). Not Used: Batson.
Cassiobury Revolution: C. Massey, Coleman (Highet 74), Wheeler (D. Massey 45), Hearn, Gonsalves (Walsh 45), Crosswell, Owusu (Dilkes 57), Thomson (Gonsalves 60), O’Brien (Wheeler 67), Earthrowl, Mundy. Not Used: Anscombe.
In what is the closest Premier Division title race since 1986, with three sides in the shake-up, Headstone Athletic defeated Oxhey Rangers 11-2.
Anthony Ball, Matt Irons and Tom O’Malley all scored braces with singles from Pete Owen, Dan Page, Eric Shields, Wesley Taylor and Sheva Kurup. Richard McCrossan and Ryan Walsh scored the Oxhey goals.
The destiny of the title is likely to rest in the games between the top three – Tudor Arms, Reed Rangers and Headstone all have three matches to play.
Brookside’s hopes of winning the title are hanging by a thread after they suffered a 5-3 defeat to mid-table Woodlands United.
Robert Wicker and Barrie Horn (2) got the Brookside goals but they were cancelled out by a James Brophy double and singles from Steve Lawrence, Craig Hepworth, and Chris Farr.
Colne Valley Reserves’ good form continued by taking maximum points from the double header with Roundbush, with 6-0 and 6-1 wins.
Perry Rogers scored twice in the first game with the other goals coming from Joe Boarder, Paul Oxley, Lewis Reid, and Tom Shand.
In the return match, Blaise Shevrington scored for Bush with the Valley goals coming from Lewis Cole with a double, Lawrence Anscombe, Richard Williams, Tom Seamons, and Tom Shand with his second of the morning.
Inter defeated FC Revolution 4-1. Dan Kenna scored twice with Alex Hayward and Chris Stead netting the other goals. Matt McShane grabbed the Revolution consolation goal.
WD Athletic beat Dynamo Croxley 3-1. Tom Byron struck a double and Alex Halifax also scored for WD. Karl McCormick struck the Croxley reply.