Grantham & District Saturday League
HITS Consultancy Junior Knockout Cup Final
AFC Croxton 2
CK Dons 2
(AFC Croxton won on penalties)
With an all Croxton Kerrial final, both teams took to the field knowing they deserved to be there and could lift the cup, and this showed immediately in a first half dominated by impressive defensive displays.
Contrasting styles of play saw Croxton moving the ball around, but it was the fast attacking play of the Dons which looked like deciding the game and, after having the majority of the attacking play, it was ultimately the goal-line heroics of Chris Bothamley and Danny Walker which stood out to keep the tie level.
The second half ebbed and flowed similarly but finally saw the Croxton defence buckle, with Kiel Stewart giving the Dons an important lead.
With both sides defending solidly, more goals looked unlikely and a couple of superb saves from man-of-the-match James Frost in the Croxton goal proved crucial when Luke Ashworth brought the game back level.
As the final whistle approached, managers’ minds turned to penalties, but a fast break overwhelmed the Croxton defence and allowed Luke Abel to give the Dons a deserved and calmly-placed goal with little over a minute to go.
Croxton responded to what looked like the 90th minute winner with a 91st minute Luke Michelson strike from 30 yards, which took it to 2-2 at the whistle – and a penalty finale.
Saves from Paul Chappell and James Frost made for a tense duel, with Croxton ultimately winning the shootout 4-2 and lifting the cup.