NICK Hegarty was the man of the moment for Eastfield St James as his extra-time brace sealed Harbour Cup success for his side after a 3-1 victory over Newlands at Thornton-le-Dale last night.
Both sides competed for every ball from the word go, with referee Bill Pashby having to make several difficult calls throughout the clash.
His first tricky decision came after seven minutes when Newlands keeper George Elliott raced off his line and collided with Hegarty.
Pashby judged the keeper to have played the ball, much to the dismay of the Eastfield support.
Newlands surged forward and Kile Fields tried his luck from range, his swerving effort was saved by Eastfield stopper Joe Wright before Eric Hall’s glanced header flashed just wide from the resulting corner.
The deadlock was broken after 16 minutes when a perfectly-weighted free-kick from Jim-Bob Binnie wasn’t cleared by the Newlands defence and Danny Price was on hand to scramble the ball into the bottom corner for 1-0 to Eastfield.
Good work from the lively Ben Luntley down the Newlands left resulted in a chance for Eric Hall, which he couldn’t quite manage to keep down, before the striker was just about thwarted by the out-rushing Wright when one-on-one.
Eastfield had a couple of chances to double their lead before the interval.
First Hegarty’s tame effort was comfortably saved by Elliott, before centre-back Adie Blake’s header sailed over the bar.
Newlands flew out of the traps for the second half with the words of boss Shaun Mancrief still ringing in their ears.
Wright was forced into a smart save down to his right, but he was to have no chance just minutes later as Newlands levelled matters up.
Superb work by Luntley on the left saw him reach the byline and tap across goal for Fields, who was in the right place at the right time to tap in for 1-1.
But the game was to witness a big turning point five minutes later as Pashby brandished a red card after an exchange of words with Harrison.
Newlands maintained their high work rate despite being reduced to 10 men, and Hall was almost on target as he turned and created space well, but his effort could only find the side netting.
The game became scrappy with both sides becoming frustrated with the officials, whose decisions were proving inconsistent at times.
Elliott was forced into a good save to his right from a rasping effort from 30-yards before Hegarty spurned a good chance to win it for Eastfield, his shot rolling wide of the target though.
Newlands weren’t out of the game though and substitute Paddy Mancrief forced Wright into a save, before another replacement, Stu Bates, could have found himself one-on-one with Wright had his second touch not been heavy and let him down when well placed.
The sides couldn’t find the crucial late goal though and the game went into extra-time.
Neither side could iron out a chance on goal in the first half, but when Eastfield launched a counter-attack after half-time, Newlands defenders Jonny Manson, who had been superb, and Nick Beale, both challenged for the same ball.
Both defenders missed the ball allowing Salt to feed Hegarty to finish neatly for 2-1.
Eastfield killed the game as a contest and sealed their success when Hegarty’s header crept in at the front post despite the best efforts of Elliott, who managed to palm it onto the post.
Eastfield’s makeshift centre-back Barber was in good form at the back for Kev David’s men, with Ben Salt and Price working hard in the middle of the park as well.
Newlands duo of Jack Hakings and Hall were also in fine form and were unlucky to end up on the losing side on the night.
Referee Pashby struggled to get control of a fiery contest from the oustset.