The first of this season’s County Cup Finals set a very high standard for those following, with a superbly exciting game, played in a sportsmanlike spirit with plenty of goals and an outcome that defied the team’s League placing's.
Both teams had experienced difficult seasons with Awsworth likely to finish in mid table in Division One of the Notts Senior League, whilst Mansfield Hosiery Mills have languished in the lower reaches of the lower tier.
However, it was the Hosiery Mills that were out of the blocks the quicker and took a sixth minute lead, as they cleared an Awsworth free-kick upfield for the lively Luke Greaves to outpace the defence and slot his shot under the advancing ‘keeper. The lead was short lived, as Awsworth won another free-kick, that was headed behind for a corner that resulted in the unfortunate Connor Brook, steering his attempted defensive header beyond his own ‘keeper.
Hosiery Mills immediately broke from the restart but Sam Doherty in the Awsworth goal superbly turned Greaves’ drive onto the crossbar and behind for a corner that was cleared but Mills were not to be defied for long, as Bower atoned for his earlier error, to forge along the left before delivering a fine cross that Jake Batty, delightfully controlled before firing into the corner and they were back again after thirty five minutes, as Aaron Turner saw his shot from the edge of the box fumbled over the line by the luckless Doherty and Turner proved it was no fluke, two minutes later by bending a delightful effort beyond the outstretched fingers of the Awsworth custodian and into the far corner.
Awsworth had been outplayed in a one-sided first half but a couple of goals within two minutes, either side of the break put a whole new complexion on this intriguing encounter, as a fine cross from the right found Sam McElroy rushing in to reduce the arrears and immediately after the restart the gap between the sides was down to one goal, with McElroy again the scorer, this time with a sublime finish from twenty five yards over a despairing Matt New but Hosiery Mills were not to be denied as Man of the Match, Jake Batty was released for a one-on-one with the ‘keeper and he kept his nerve to cleverly lob into the empty net.
There were plenty of opportunities created a squandered at either end but Hosiery Mills held out to deservedly lift the trophy, presented to them by former Association President, Alec Thomson, supported by current Nottinghamshire FA Chairman, Brian Hambidge.
Match report courtesy of John Wheat, Nottinghamshire FA Board Member.
Photographs courtesy of Alexandra Johnson Photography - www.alexandrajohnsonphotography.co.uk