02 May 2008
By Bob Banister, Wickwar Wanderers FC
Wickwar under 15s beat local rivals Charfield to win the final of the Stroud Youth League’s Tom Moore Cup 1-0 After Extra Time on Sunday 27th April at Stonehouse FC.
The match was a gripping encounter with two evenly matched teams contesting every ball. The first 15 minutes saw much of the game played in Wickwar’s half. This made the large crowd of Wickwar supporters, ably led by Roger Page, slightly anxious. They need not have worried. Charfield’s game plan was to try to find their semi final winner Piers Cookson on their left but strong defending from Jordan Helps in tandem with midfielder Robert Banister on the Wickwar right meant there was no way through. Oliver Morgan and David Hall at the heart of the defence won everything and Luke Hopkins on the Wickwar left was quick to react to any attempts at progression down the Wickwar left. As a result Charfield were restricted to taking long range shots. Dan Page, as vociferous as ever in the Wickwar goal, marshalled his area well and was forced to make one smart diving save to his left.
The best chance of the half fell to Wickwar’s Oliver McAfee whose
powerful 30 yard shot drew a good save from the keeper. Wickwar’s
forwards, George Whatley and Kris Moore had little to go on but they
manufactured a chance that saw Charfield’s goalkeeper scrambling at the
feet of Oliver McAfee and the Wickwar crowd baying for a penalty.
The second half saw two substitutions Connor Pinnell came on for the
injured Kris Moore and Jamie Stephens replaced Dan Page. Things
remained just as tight but Wickwar had the edge and missed 2 good
chances to take the lead. The best of which saw Conner Pinnell outstrip
the Charfield defence before crossing a ball which eluded the defence
and only an awkward bobble of the ball prevented Alex Lumsden from
scoring the first goal.
Wickwar continued to soak up any Charfield pressure with Jake Brown,
magnificent just in front of the Wickwar defence, winning tackle after
tackle. Despite holding the advantage Wickwar still failed to find a
way through and needed Jamie Stephens to tip a looping header over the
bar to take the game into extra time.
Wickwar looked the stronger in extra time and after 7 minutes a
dangerous Wickwar corner came back out to Robert Banister who put in a
superb cross helped on by Max Minter to Alex Lumsden who fired home
from close range to break the deadlock.
Charfield looked dispirited but they fought back in the second period
of extra time when Joe Moore hit the post. Wickwar would just not let
them back into the game. George Whatley, who tackled and chased back
throughout the match to help out his midfield and Max Minter, who,
despite carrying an injury into the game, never shrunk from his
trademark thundering tackles, continued to run and run until the final
whistle to seal victory for the team.
Manager, Andy Minter, said, “It was a fantastic team performance and
I’d like to thank the whole team, which includes not only the 14 boys
who played today but also Mark Green and Tim Hatton, who made
significant contributions throughout the cup campaign in the run up to
the final. All the hard work in training and the coaching and
encouragement from James Smith finally paid off today, beating
Charfield to win this cup for the first time in the Club’s History is a