Crusaders Sunday Champions
The brand new Nottinghamshire FA Sunday Senior Challenge Cup reached its climax last night at Meadow Lane. After meeting in the group stages Attenborough Cavaliers were looking to avenge their 2-0 loss against Crusader AFC.
The opening 10 minutes provided little in the way of any clear opportunities for either team until Scott Litchfield collected the ball 25 yards from goal and evaded two challenges before striking low and hard across Jack Anderson in the Cavaliers goal, 1-0 to Crusaders!
Two minutes later Cavaliers won a corner which almost resulted in an own goal, Crusader defender slicing their clearance which was just high and wide. The following corner was a better delivery, Mitchell Robinson rising highest to head towards goal which was not cleared off the line in time, the assistant official immediately flagging to give the goal, 1-1.
On 19 minutes Crusaders Danny Blanchard delivered a dangerous cross from the right which forced a corner. From the corner there was a goalmouth scramble but the ball fell to Richard Whyman inside the area who struck the ball through the crowded area to restore Crusaders lead.
Whyman was in action again only a minute later this time with a last gasp lunge to block a goal-bound shot from Alex Cook 8 yards out.
Crusaders nearly extended their lead on 21 minutes, the ball was switched from left to right to find the dangerous Blanchard who’s cross found Mitch Williams at the far post, with his back to goal he turned beating his defender but his shot across goal beat the far post.
In the few minutes that followed Crusaders Scott Litchfield and Cavaliers Jack Upton both had speculative efforts from outside the box but neither troubled the keepers.
Anderson was then called into action in the 25th minute, diving to his left at full stretch to turn a shot from Crusaders Nathanial Kelly around the post.
On 35 minutes Cavaliers almost found the equaliser, great cross from Upton was headed just wide by Cavs striker under pressure from two Crusaders defenders.
That proved to be the last real chance of the first half – Crusaders leading 2-1.
Cavaliers made all the early running at the beginning of the second half, but on 51 minutes Crusaders produced a sucker-punch, Jack Reid driving into the area and from 12 yards struck low and hard, it took a small deflection which took it passed the dive of Anderson and giving Crusaders a 3-1 lead.
Crusaders keeper and captain Jason Kirk then kept his sides two goal lead in tact with a great save from Upton’s freekick which deflected off the wall.
On 68 minutes Litchfield nearly killed the tie off, his point blank shot was well stopped by Anderson.
Cavaliers nearly got themselves back into the final on 73 minutes, Kirk came off his line to block an effort, the ball was chipped back into the danger area over the top of Kirk, but the resulting header towards goal was cleared off the line.
Crusaders restricted Cavaliers to a couple of half chances in the final 10 minutes, nothing troubling Kirk in goal, and with added on time being played the impressive Litchfield scored his second of the game and Crusaders fourth with a cool finish making it 4-1.
Crusaders were crowned the inaugural champions of the Nottinghamshire FA Sunday Senior Challenge Cup, and Richard Whyman was named Player of the Match for his performance.