Newlands slip to final defeat

Newlands Park will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on some silverware after their 3-0 defeat in a dour North Riding FA Sunday Challenge Cup final on Thursday night.

The scoreline clearly flattered The Cleveland on the night, as Newlands were left ruing some sloppy defending and toothless attacking.

Joint-bosses Ryan Cooper and Ben Luntley will now switch their attention to a potential treble that could still lie in front of them.

But they will have to haul themselves back to winning ways on Sunday if they are to capture the first part of this trio - the first division title.

Stung by injuries and fatigue, Newlands made the slowest of starts at the North Riding’s base in Stokesley, and they never recovered.

Park failed to deal with a set-piece in the opening exchaanges and, after a melee in the box, defender Joe Woods prodded past a stranded Callum Myers.

After this initial blow, Newlands soon found some fluency, and Drew McCoubrey wriggled free on the right, but his low shot was held.

There was a decent shout for a penalty minutes later when Stew Bates looked to have been shoved as he tried to collect the ball, but the match official shook his head.

After this early flurry, the tie began to fade badly, with creativity from either side drying up.

Newlands huffed and puffed in the middle of the park, but the ball just wouldn’t stick in attack.

The Cleveland almost doubled their advantage in the last minute of the half, but attacker Ben Wheatley managed to scoop over the bar from six yards.

The game continued in nip and tuck fashion when the new half got underway, but still chances were at a premium.

Callum Myers made a smart save to keep Newlands in the game on the hour, before Cooper and Luntley threw caution to the wind, moving more and more men forward.

This almost paid off when the ball sat up nicely for sub Liam Cooper, but his volley skipped just past the post.

Play then swung to the other end, and a sweet shot from midfielder Nathan Liddell settled the tie when it crashed into the net off the post.

Things got even worse for Park in the final few minutes, when Richard Cook, who had been outstanding for The Cleveland, sliced a fortunate effort which spun past Myers and over the line.

Referee James Unwin brought the punishment to an end seconds later, leaving Newlands to reflect on what might have been.