Waiters Arms squeezed past Halifax Hammers on sudden death penalties in an incredible Briggs Priestley Senior Cup Final at the home of Brighouse Town on Sunday.
Adam Fenton’s side put aside the heartache of losing out in the Halifax Sunday League’s Premier Division title race and District Cup final to Carrington FC by winning 5-4 on spot kicks after a 3-3 draw.
The match had looked too close to call and both sides deserved credit for putting on one the most entertaining Finals for a long time.
Early indications that drama was afoot came when Ashton Richardson’s ball into the box was scuffed just wide by David Chappell for Waiters, whilst at the other end Sameer Ahmed was very lively on the flanks for Hammers.
Brighouse Town Development player Lamin Gitteh was on familiar ground and nifty footwork and no shortage of pace and strength saw him craft an opening but he could only curl the ball wide.
Opposing midfield men Mohammed Ozair for Hammers and James Hurtley both showed neat touches and confidence on the ball.
Hurtley delivered a fine ball into the Hammers box which was expertly dealt with by impressive left back Ikhlaq Ahmed, whilst Ozair was narrowly wide after being fed by Gitteh.
The breakthrough came on 21 minutes and it was no surprise that Hurtley was involved. His fine pass allowed Lee Wood to slide home the opener for Fenton’s men.
Hurtley also had two good headed opportunities but Hammers fought back strongly to draw the tie level. Gitteh stroked a cultured pass into Terriq Pervez’s path and the Hammers forward made a difficult chance look easy with two great touches followed by a curled finish past a helpless Ethan Daly.
The chances continued up until the break although neither side could steal an advantage. Awais Khan struck just wide and Ozair just over the top for Hammers, while Carl Maguire hit a sweet volley just off target for their opponents.
The ante was upped further still with the sides trading goals in the first six minutes of the second period.
Yasar Mohammad made the save of the match to deny Richardson’s close range shot but Waiters stole back the lead from the ensuing corner. Hurtley made back post contact with his head and looked as surprised as anyone as the ball found its way into the opposite side of the Hammers goal almost in slow motion.
Hammers took only three minutes to level again. Young front man Khan produced a skilful turn and finish to make it 2-2.
The match descended into relative calm for 10 minutes, before Waiters found themselves once more in front. Reece Uttley got a telling touch towards the Hammers goal and arms were raised for the ball having crossed the line; the assistant referee agreed.
The Hammers management earned their stripes with a couple of substitutions and one of the newcomers, Khurram Shazad, helped forge yet another immediate response in a breathless encounter. His set piece delivery was met by the impressive Hammers centre back Mazn Amhamed who nodded home for 3-3.
Hammers looked the more likely to snatch a winner as the clock ticked towards full time, with Lee Smith an impressive introduction to their forward line. Gitteh showed good strength again but couldn’t get his shot past Daly, before Pervez thought he had his second but was pulled up for a tight off-side.
With no extra time scheduled, the match went straight to the cruelty of penalties.
Hammers netted their first three spot-kicks with Waiters striking the post and Mohammad making a fine diving stop.
Hammers had one hand on the trophy but a miss and save from Daly meant sudden death. The first two pressure kicks were converted, but a miss from Hammers enabled Waiters to take the trophy.
Amhamed picked up the player of the match award for a stoic defensive display and fine headed goal for Hammers.
Waiters Arms: Ethan Daly, Lee Albon, Dean Park, James Waggett, Ash O’Shea (Oliver Coates, 57), James Hurtley, Carl Maguire, Ashton Richardson, Reece Uttley, Lee Wood, David Chappell (Harry Talbot, 75). Unused Subs: Adam Fenton, Ash Rayner, James Severn.
Halifax Hammers: Yasar Mohammad, Ahsan Farooq, Mazn Amhamed, Callum Charlton, Ikhlaq Ahmed, Awais Khan, Waleed Raja, Sameer Ahmed (Khurram Shazad, 60), Terriq Pervez, Mohammed Ozair (Lee Smith, 60), Lamin Gitteh. Unused Subs: Irfan Afzal, Kashif Akmal, Abubakar Dar.
Referee: Steve Hoyle
Assistants: Danielle Whitworth, Ian Childs.
Fourth official: Phil Crouch