HERTS SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY FINAL
BELSTONE FC 2 LGC EAGLES 3
After going 2 goals down early in the second half the Eagles made a dramatic recovery to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a thrilling cup final at the County Ground Letchworth.
Eagles opening brightly attacking Belstone from the first whistle. Within minutes a well struck daisy cutter from the edge of the penalty area by Paul McGennity forced the young Belstone keeper Joel Thomas to push it wide at full stretch after a defender had cleared the ball from off the line from a shot by John Coley. Den Crook then blazed over the cross bar from 15 yards and after 20 minutes McGennity almost made contact with his head to a Mitch Cox free kick with an open goal before him. Belstone were limited to long balls down the field and breaks out of an increasing unsettled defence . Shane Carthy almost forced home a cross from Anthony Geary from a yard out but keeper Thomas managed to block the ball for a corner and injure himself in the process.
As Eagles pressed chances came their way but none could be taken. Ricky Small headed over the bar from a Cox corner and Sam Gittings headed a long throw in by McGennity just over. In contrast Eagles keeper Dan Goad had little to do and the Eagles goal was rarely threatened.
In the second half Belstone really turned on the pressure and after 50 minutes scored when a loose ball bobbing in the Eagles penalty area was blasted into the net from 10 yards. A few minutes later it was 2-0 with another clean strike through a group of defenders.
Eagles then pushed Ricky Small upfield and introduced Dami Fajiobi, which gave more width. . As the game progressed Eagles became a far more potent force. A free kick by Carl Williams was well saved by Thomas pushing the ball round his post and then Fajiobi headed over the keeper but the ball trickled wide of a post. On 70 minutes a freekick by Cox was collected by Small near the penalty and his low hard shot looked destined for the net until once again it was brilliantly saved by the keeper, pushing the ball wide of the post. The goal that had been threatened finally came when Small headed the ball on from a Cox corner on to McGennity who managed to out jump Thomas and force the ball into the net from a few yards out. Then a Den Crook looping shot from at least 35 yards almost sailed over the head of keeper, but he managed to finger tip it over the cross bar.
Eagles were not to be denied and after 80 minutes were awarded a penalty for a clear handball in the penalty area by a Belstone defender stopping the ball from entering the net. He was shown a red card and Carl Williams cleanly fired home the penalty low into the corner of the net for the equalising goal.
The winner game 5 minutes from the end with a goal that was worth of winning a cup final. Veteran striker John Coley volleyed the ball from a couple of yards inside the penalty area into the top corner of the net giving Thomas no chance. It was a superb strike. He almost added a second a few minutes later when he raced clear of a tiring Belstone defence, but his low shot was too close to the keeper, who made another excellent save. Goad almost gave Eagles fans a heart attack when well out of his goal, he sliced the ball as he attempted to clear and then had to dribble round a Belstone forward before finding touch into the terracing. Eagles saw out the rest of the game and a remarkable victory was secured.