Shaw Lane 1 Frickley 0
Sheffield Senior Cup final at Bramall Lane
First I offer the players & management an unreserved apology - in my match report from Mondays game I said that I feared the Shaw Lane match might end in a cricket score. How wrong I was. The way the team was set up & the way the team stuck to their plan was a revelation. In fact, had we been more confident & assured in front of goal it could indeed have been a cricket score by half time....in our favour!
So, first the hard facts - our defence (who were superb all night) only allowed Shaw Lane 2 clear chances. Sebba made a great save to push 1 chance on to the post & they scored from the 2nd one. Some might call that efficient, some might call it spawny - you take your pick.
Our defence marshalled the attacks so well in the first half that Shaw Lane were restricted to speculative efforts that mostly ended up in row Z.
Onto the emotional stuff now - we have seen some distinctly average & below average performances this season. Last night wasn't one of them. The lads put in an absolutely sterling performance & I left the ground a little gutted but 100% proud (thanks for the quote Ken!). Every player left everything out on the pitch & to be honest, that is all we can ask for week in & week out (although some wins would be nice).
Whilst our defence kept the heavily resourced forward line quiet, midfield were able to break cover regularly & get forward, setting up our first chance for Joe Pugh who tried a curled shot from 25 yards but the keeper held it comfortably & then Macca (who provided excellent dead ball service all night) fed Luke Mangham for a looping header which went just over.
& the attacks kept coming - Captain Stohrer with a long range effort & then a similar long range effort by Mangs which the keeper spilled in front of Joe Pugh who was given offside. Best chance of the night came from another Macca corner which evaded everyone & only needed the slightest of touches to put it home.
HALF TIME - NO SCORE
Sebba made his stop which he pushed onto the post & then turned defence into attack as his long clearance put Joe Pugh through, & he beat his defenders but couldn't get his shot off inside the box.
Shortly after Jack Waters replaced Nath Valentine who picked up a knock in the first half which got aggravated in the second.
Inevitably, making all the play meant that the Blues tired from about 75 minutes in & the sucker punch came with 5 minutes to go when a cross was met at the far post & Shaw Lane made it 1 - 0 & that is how it ended.
The Greens gave it everything, they deserved everything but ended up with nothing sadly - that's the cruelty of sport I guess. Ultimately lack of confidence in front of goal cost us & that has been the story throughout the season
So, you shouldn't make snap judgements based on 1 game, but you know I'm going to - if our heavily resourced opponents are the best that Evostik 1 has to offer, then we'll be able to give it a good crack next season so long as we get our recruitment right.
WEBMASTER MOTM - the entire defensive unit deserve every bit of credit available. Sebba, Gaz, Reece, Bails & Pick knew their jobs & executed them. Midfield pretty much ran the game first half & the lads up front ran & ran & ran. But I'm going to single out Pick for the Webmasters Glitterball as he rolled back the years & gave us the sort of performance that we saw week in week out in 2012 when he got Player Of The Year.
So we're still stuck on 14 Cup final wins, joint with Sheffield Wednesday
Our attentions now turn to our final game of the season - away to Mickleover on Saturday. I'll see you there