Liam Salt’s Trafalgar troops came back from a goal down to earn a 2-1 victory against Northallerton WMC in the North Riding FA Sunday Challenge Cup final at Stokesley.
The Scarborough News Sunday League title-chasers recovered from a slow start to earn victory in a nervy final on a chilly night at the county FA’s headquarters, Nick Hegarty and Joel Ramm scoring either side of half-time for Traf.
Neither team seemed at ease in the first half-hour, but in the 31st minute Northallerton WMC opened the scoring after a clinical counter-attack.
Things could have been much worse for Traf, as less than 90 seconds later the Northallerton side hit the post with a shot that rebounded back out to safety.
This seemed to stir Traf into action and three minutes before the interval they brought the scores level with their best move of the opening 45 minutes.
Striker Ramm threaded an excellent pass through to left-winger Ben Salt who cut inside and sent a shot towards goal and past the keeper from an acute angle, the Northallerton centre-back cleared it off the line but Hegarty was waiting to slam the ball into the net from close range.
Three minutes into the second half Traf keeper Gaz Ellwood pulled off an outstanding save to deny his own left-back Niall Gibb, whose attempted clearance seemed more deadly than a striker’s shot.
Two minutes later Traf scored the winning goal, Ramm chasing down a long ball to nip in between a Northallerton defender and their keeper Paul Hardie and flicked the ball into the unattended net to spark celebrations on the Traf bench and among the boisterous travelling Scarborough supporters.
Centre-back Shaun Dodson, who along with Ben Salt, Hegarty and Ramm were probably Traf’s best players on the night, sent a shot over the bar on 56 minutes and five minutes later Hegarty was denied by a fine save from Hardie.
After being the better side for the first 25 minutes of the second half, Traf sat back for the next 10 minutes but apart from a shot straight at Ellwood Northallerton failed to take advantage of this relaxation by Liam Salt’s side.
Traf regained their hold on the game in the final 10 minutes, Mike Tate impressing after coming on as a sub for Hegarty and causing problems for the Northallerton defence.
Traf’s fans had some more nervy moments in injury-time, their rivals hitting the post but Traf hung onto their narrow lead to claim the trophy.
Boss Liam Salt said after the final: “It is six or seven years since we have won this cup so it is a great achievement.
“Neither side really played well to start with, so to equalise just before half-time was crucial.
“All the lads were brilliant but Nick Hegarty put in a lot of work up front and scored the first goal, while Joel Ramm helped set up the opener and scored the second.”