Midgley United Reserves lifted the Halifax AFL’s Invitation Cup for the first time with a penalty shoot out win over Ryburn United Reserves at the Shay last night.
Midgley won 3-1 on spot kicks after two hours of play had failed to split the Division One rivals with Ash Shaw’s early goal for Ryburn cancelled out by one from James Balmforth.
Darren Nelson collected the trophy in the Ziggy’s Metro Cars-backed competition in his final game before hanging up his boots.
Ryburn were losing in the final for the second successive year, after defeat to Shelf FC 12 months ago, while Midgley will look to notch a quick double at the same venue tonight when their firsts play Warley Rangers in the Challenge Cup final.
Favourites Ryburn went ahead inside the first five minutes. James Lawton did well down the right and he got round the back of the Midgley defence before squaring for Ash Shaw to tap home.
Midgley were rattled but slowly got into the game with James Balmforth looking a big threat.
Good defending from man of the match Luke Kendall kept them at bay but on the half hour mark Midgley levelled with a carbon copy of Ryburn’s goal.
Jacob Shaw got round his marker wide on the right and he sent in a super ball that Balmforth side footed home.
Play swung from end to end with chances for both sides.
The pace of Lewis Brierley and Shaw were concerns for Midgley but the hard working James Yates and Sam Tattersall kept Midgley going forward and they found Balmforth a willing worker and a good outlet.
Matty Hirst produced a fine save to keep out Balmforth’s volley in extra time while James Lawton became more and more influential as Ryburn went for a winner.
Calum Wheelwright picked up a second yellow card that left Midgley with 10 men for the remaining 15 minutes of extra time.
In the penalty shoot out Ryburn missed three of their four attempts and Midgley wrapped up success by scoring from their first three.
Midgley United; James Brookes, Jake Farrar, Simon Canvanagh, Nathan Cleary, Sam Sharkey, Sam Tattersall, Joe Elwin, James Yates, Jake Shaw, James Balmforth, Darren Nelson, Subs; Anthony Smith, Shaun Frewin, Calum Wheelwright, Matthew Thompson
Ryburn United; Matty Hirst, Kane Forbes, Jonny Mosey, Luke Kendall, Rob Worthington, Natty Powell, James Lawton, Jake Finch, Ash Shaw, Nathan Hargreaves, Lewis Brierley. Subs; Chris Wragg, Gaz Robertshaw, Craig Jennings, Rick Bottomley, Chris Redhead.
Referee: Peter Bowe