Tadcaster Albion 2-3 Cleethorpes Town (played at Garforth Town)
Cleethorpes Town denied a depleted Tadcaster Albion a memorable double in a thrilling NCEL League Cup final at Garforth Town.
Jon Oglesby’s precise curler for The Owls with 17 minutes to go proved to be the fifth and all-important goal it what was an entertaining Cup final.
Despite having sealed the Premier league championship two weeks previous, Albion went into Saturday's final as underdogs though as ten players were either on holiday, unavailable or injured.
Jonathan Greening, Andy Milne, Nick Black, Liam Ormsby, Dan Clayton, Gary Stevens, George Conway, Seb Carole, Richard Cresswell and Matt Heath were all unavailable to selection for boss Billy Miller.
The Owls had the first clear sight at goal but it wasn’t created by themselves. Gregg Anderson dwindled on the ball which allowed Brody Robertson to pinch away from the colossal defender. Robertson carried the ball forward and struck powerfully towards the top corner however his effort was deflected narrowly wide of the mark.
Apart from Robertson’s early chance, it was the Champions who were on top for the opening stages as Adam Baker’s close range volley was well blocked and Carl Stewart’s looping header was cleared off the line.
Corners were proving difficult for Cleethorpes to deal with as Taddy went close from a set-piece once more. Tom Corner’s 180 degree turn and shot was scooped off the line but only as far as Josh Greening who picked out Adam Baker in acres of spaces but the winger controlled and blazed well over the crossbar.
Josh Greening was looking dangerous as ever in and around the penalty area and he almost gave Tadcaster the lead on the 20th minute. He dribbled into the box sizing up Tim Lowe and comfortably beat the full-back but shot over the target from close range missing a good chance.
The chances kept on totting up for The Brewers and another good opportunity came and went as Gregg Anderson rose highest but powerfully headed agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
One minute later though and Tadcaster did take the lead and deservedly so. A clipped ball in behind Clee’s defence was impressively flicked over Lowe by Corner and into the path of Greening who evaded the stretching Kieran Wressell and coolly side-footed past Liam Higton for his 28th goal of the season.
Taddy could have struck The Owls with a misery compiler straight after taking the lead but Lowe’s positioning was spot on to hook off Carl Stewart’s toes.
Due to first-team goalkeeper Gary Stevens being on holiday for Tadcaster, 18-year old goalkeeper Charlie Murphy stepped in to make his competitive debut and certainly wasn’t looking short of confidence. First he came and claimed a high raking cross with ease and then impressively tipped over Cooper’s rasping half volley.
Cleethorpes woke up and took the game to Taddy, equalising soon after going behind as Luke Mascall lashed into the bottom left-hand corner from 22 yards.
Cleethorpes were unquestionably in the ascendency for the second part of the first half and the Lincolnshire based side could have netted a few themselves. A glorious chance was squandered on the half hour mark as Marc Cooper drove in behind down the left and fired across the face of goal where Brody Robertson just couldn’t stretch enough to tap in.
Murphy was then called into action once again as Jon Oglesby’s shot from an inside right position took a wicked deflection but the young stopper did well to adjust himself and push around the post.
However, Cleethorpes turned the final right around in the 34th minute as they took the lead. Oglesby delivered an incising cross from the left across goal and Brody Robertson ghosted in unmarked to tap in from three yards.
The two meetings between the two sides this season were extremely cagey affairs with just one goal scored but this was a completely different affair. It was an open and exciting cup final.
Taddy had a golden opportunity to level things up with five minutes until the break as Carl Stewart threaded it through to Tom Corner but the forward was unable to convert the one on one as Higton stopped well.
Jason Mycoe’s fierce strike from distance which flew narrowly over the bar was the last action of the first half as The Owls went in 2-1 up.
The second half began a little cagier than the first with both sides trying to stamp their authority on the match.
Cleethorpes had a fantastic opportunity to put daylight between the sides just after the hour mark. Oglesby forced his way down the left-hand side and up the by-line before pulling back to Marc Cooper whose strike was beaten away by Murphy.
Two minutes later and the final had taken another intriguing twist as Taddy equalised. A ball over the top saw a one v one opportunity between Carl Stewart and Tim Lowe and Stewart cleverly used his body to usher Lowe out of the way before firing under Liam Higton’s legs and into the back of the net.
It was end-to-end stuff in Garforth as both sets of fans fancied their chances. However it was Cleethorpes who netted the all-important fifth goal with thirteen minutes to go.
Oglesby picked the ball up on the left-hand side, looked as though he was going to take on Conor Sellars but Oglesby opted to go for goal and he chose correctly, bending into the bottom right corner.
Taddy pushed hard in the final ten minutes to try and take the match into extra-time and they came close to doing so on a couple of occasions with a few eye-raising penalty shouts.
First of all substitute Ryan Woodhead drilled a ball to the back post to Gregg Anderson who thundered a header into the side-netting.
Marcel Chigumira, another youngster with a bright future came oh so close to levelling the tie up once again but he just dragged his effort wide.
Cleethorpes were dealing well with Tadcaster’s late pressure however there was a strong penalty shout in stoppage time. The bouncing ball seemed to hit the hand of Jon Oglesby. A hard one to call for the referee and such a big call so late in the game but it wasn’t given and Cleethorpes Town held on to lift the cup.