Basildon Barbarians 4 - 2 FC Woodley
Basildon fight back from an early deficit to claim their third Cup Trophy in three years
Basildon Barbarians capped a tough season with a new addition to their trophy cabinet, defeating a worthy FC Woodley side 4-2 in a thrilling E Cambridge Challenge Cup Final at Reading Town's Scours lane ground.
Woodley were quickest out of the blocks, and put Basildon under constant pressure for the first 20 minutes of a very hot and draining game, the early Summer sun forcing both sides into frequent drinks breaks. From a deep cross originating on the right wing, Woodley stole in at the back post to head in on 12 minutes, to draw first blood.
Just before the half hour, Basildon struck back with a very similar goal. Stephen Lenk's deep cross from the left was met at the back post by Adam Robinson, striking home in off the inside of the right hand post.
5 minutes before half time, Basildon were awarded a penalty, and Robinson stepped forward to take the spot kick. A well struck shot to the keeper's right was saved with a strong top hand, pushing the ball away to side, but Luke Passby was quickest to react, clipping the ball to the back post, where Robinson calmly volleyed home from a few yards, to take the BaBa's into the half time break 2-1 up.
Soon after the break, the scores were level again, Woodley sending another long cross in from the left wing, and a slow looping header managed to evade Liam Royden, and creep inside the back post.
Basildon were beginning to find form though, and as they moved through the gears, two quick goals took the wind from Woodley's sails, and the game to bed.
Firstly, Skipper Paul Beaumont met a David Stevens corner kick on the edge of the six yard box, steering the ball past a crowded goal-line with a flicked to take the lead back for the Barbarians.
Woodley had barely kicked off again before Jamie Bell was set free down the right wing, and with a superb first touch taking the ball past the last defender and bearing down on the keeper at his right hand post, a deftly weighted pass across goal provided Luke Passby with an opportunity to double the lead, which he did not squander, striking home with a classy finish from 8 yards.
Both sides tired, but Basildon held on, strengthening through the introduction of Dawfydd Williams, Frank Dillon, and Chris Hadrill, making his final appearance for the BaBa's.
Basildon began to play a difficult game of keep-ball for the final few minutes, the dry and bobbly pitch making a passing game near impossible, but as the clock ran down, Woodley were unable to make any further breakthrough, foiled by Liam Royden and his centre-backs, the sterling partnership of Daniel Aylmer and Paul Beaumont, when they made any foray into their penalty area. Jamie Bell continued to push forward, and was denied a goal when put through one on one, but ultimately his performance was rewarded by an independently voted Man of the Match award.
As the final whilst blew, Basildon Barbarians took a moment to reflect on a tough season, that ended with a 3rd place finish in Division 2 West, before the Cup Final victory. In the short history of the club, the honours list now shows two league 1st places, and three cup victories, and there are no plans to let up in the search for more silverware.
The Players and staff of the club would like to thank all of their families and fans who supported the club today, and during every game this season, and look forward to seeing you on the sidelines next season.