Silverware for Hucknall Town FC
Hucknall Town FC were crowned the 2018/19 Nottinghamshire FA Sunday Senior Challenge Trophy champions by defeating RHP Sports & Social FC 3-1 at Basford United’s Greenwich Avenue.
RHP currently second in the Premier division of the Newark Alliance, and in the final of the leagues Willie Hall Memorial Trophy, had their sights on the treble. Perhaps nerves would have shown, but it was RHP that settled the quickest against their opponents who are mid-table in the Premier division of the Notts Sunday League, and were knocked out of their league cup in the second round.
With the game only in its 3rd minute a long ball over the top from defence put Lewis Chambers through on goal, but he scuffed his shot wide of the target with only Michael Randle in the Hucknall goal to beat.
In the 5th minute Hucknall mustered a half chance with a long cross into the box which was met by Alex Stolarski, but his header lacked power and direction looping over the bar and not troubling RHP’s Kieran Conway in goal.
RHP were having early success down the left channel and another ball out of defence in the 7th minute released the pacey Chambers who this time crossed the ball but two RHP players tangled with each other and Hucknall cleared the danger.
A minute later and RHP won a free kick in a dangerous position 20 yards from goal, but Kyle Nicholson’s effort curled round the wall but was straight at Randle who gathered comfortably.
The early pressure produced the opening goal in the 11th minute for RHP, again a ball down the left channel released Nicholson who squared the ball across goal and Captain Chris Self made no mistake finishing off the move at the back post.
Hucknall’s Kye Simpson started to have an impact in the game, winning two corners in as many minutes, however the dead ball delivery did not clear the first defender.
RHP were still having the better chances, first Nicholson had another attempt from 20 yards but again his curling effort was straight at Randle, and a minute later Self turned his defender but his 25 yard effort was high and wide.
It was in the 27th minute that Hucknall created their best chance but Nathan Lovett scuffed his shot wide of the post, and five minutes later Rob Needham tried his luck from distance but his effort was gathered by Conway.
RHP almost doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when a speculative cross from Jay Murphy almost looped over Randle into the top corner, the keeper doing well to back peddle and punch the ball clear.
On 38 minutes the key incident occurred that changed the momentum of the game. Hucknall’s Tom Hubbard with his back to goal and just inside the area appeared to tangle with an RHP defender, ending up on the floor. Referee George Dibbs had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Lovett stepped up and slotted the penalty passed Conway.
Lovett had a chance soon after for his second but point blank save from Conway this time denied him. From the resulting corner a header back into the box found Lovett unmarked but from only a few yards out he blasted the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Dibbs blew for half-time shortly after with the score at 1-1.
As in the first half RHP started the second half on the front foot, in the 50th minute Chambers had a good chance but shot wide with just Randle to beat.
Hucknall had their first chance of the second half in the 53rd minute with Conway producing a fine save from Needham’s strike.
The game settled down and it wasn’t until the 65th minute when Daniel Phillips of Hucknall controlled a long ball and turned his marker, his strike from outside the area was parried by Conway but gathered at the second attempt, and two minutes later Matt Corbett had a better chance with a mazy run passed three defenders from right to left, but struck high and wide.
In the 70th minute Murphy crossed from the left and again as in the first half had Randall back peddling, this time the cross coming back off the bar.
Hucknall then seized control of the tie in the 74th minute, Christian Mantazola turning in at the far post from 6 yards from a corner.
Hucknall nearly put the final out of reach in the 82nd minute, Simpson beating three defenders and nearly finished a great solo effort but his shot back across goal had Conway beat but was agonisingly wide.
Mantazola then had a clear sight on goal for his second, but once again the finish was dragged across goal and wide with Conway narrowing the angle.
The tie was eventually finished in the 90th minute with the impressive Simpson scoring the goal of the game. He collected the ball on the left in his own half, he outpaced the RHP defence, just when it looked as though he had taken one touch to many he finished emphatically from a tight angle beating Conway for pace at the near post.
Corbett was named Player of the Match for Hucknall, and the team collected the trophy which will be a great addition to their clubs new ground in 2019/20.