TRAFALGAR fought their way back on two occasions to wrap up a thrilling 3-2 victory against Newlands in the final of the Senior Cup.
Sean Exley’s goal deep into extra-time proved to be vital in securing Traf’s first piece of silverware of the current campaign.
It wasn’t looking good for the Traf lads prior to this though, as Newlands twice edged ahead in the entertaining battle at a fresh Seamer Sports.
The bumpy pitch didn’t make things easy for the players, and they also weren’t aided by some questionable refereeing from Kevin Brown, who at times struggled to cope with the pace of the match.
In contrast Newlands and Traf settled quickly, with both creating a string of early opportunities.
The best of these saw Newlands’ keeper Sean Pindar making a full-length save from Joel Ramm, while Ryan Cooper’s shot was pushed away by Pinder’s opposite number Gaz Elwood.
Ramm was unlucky once again in the 20th minute as a planted a powerful header against the bar with Newlands’ rearguard well-beaten.
It was one of these Newlands’ defenders Jordan Mintoft, who provided the breakthrough just minutes later.
He collected after a frenetic scramble in the box and hooked the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
The pace calmed a little after this, though the highlights continued to come, as Jamie Patterson’s swirling drive was tipped over and Elwood pushed an Eric Hall cross off the toe of Newlands’ striker Billy Logan.
Traf began the second half with a bang, as they pushed forward in search of a leveller.
Pinder denied Exley with a smart save, but then seconds later he fumbled the ball at the feet of Ramm and the Traf attacker poked into an empty net.
Traf sub Tom Adams almost produced a complete turnaround, but his headed effort was flicked away to safety by the solid Mintoft.
Newlands then had their purple patch, with brothers Josh and Jack Hakings both going close, Logan smashed over and Ryan Cooper struck the side-netting from 25 yards.
Newlands then hit the bar after a melee, but time had ticked on and the players were forced to endure another half-hour of extra-time.
This was started in perfect fashion by Newlands, as Ben Luntley was picked out in the centre and he coolly slotted home.
Joe Hakings’ Newlands could have edged further clear in the moments after, as they went for the Traf jugular.
Eric Hall burst clear and smashed the ball against the inside of the post, then Logan did steer the ball into the net, but the effort was ruled out by the flag of linesman Dave Hudghton.
The last action of extra-time’s opening period saw Traf defender Baz Gill rise majestically in the box to nod home Dean Craig’s corner.
A penalty shoot-out beckoned as the time pressed on, but Traf’s Exley had other ideas.
He collected out wide on the left and fired a tasty drive across a stranded Pinder and into the bottom corner.
Luntley almost restored parity once again in the final seconds, but after climbing well in the box he planted his header just over.
Traf: Elwood, Nock, Craig, Gill, B Salt, Patterson, Aziz (Adams), Price, Tate (L Salt), Ramm, Exley.
Newlands: Pinder, Manson (Griffiths), Mintoft, Fields, Josh Hakings, Jack Hakings, R Cooper (S Cooper), Wilson (Gallagher), Luntley, Hall, Logan.