Penalty kings Pier win Goalsports final

West Pier Reserves skipper Chris Watson holds the Goalsports Trophy aloft along with Sunday League secretary Tony Walker, left and chairman Mark Plumpton, right
West Pier Reserves skipper Chris Watson holds the Goalsports Trophy aloft along with Sunday League secretary Tony Walker, left and chairman Mark Plumpton, right
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West Pier Reserves beat Trafalgar Reserves 8-7 in a penalty shoot-out to claim victory in the Goalsports Trophy final at Scarborough RUFC.

Second division champions Trafalgar had the first clear chance of the final after only six minutes when midfielder Jamie Wray had his goalbound header cleared.

Four minutes later lively young Pier striker Chris Weetman tackled Traf defender Guy Newbould and broke through to go one-on-one with keeper Chris Garton, but the lone forward shot wide of the mark.

Five minutes later Alex Wray went close for Traf with a 25-yard volley, his fellow midfielder Damien Robinson also going close six minutes later.

Pier then began to get a grip of the game and Danny Birley’s shot was saved by Chris Garton, and within a minute the Traf keeper also did well to deny Weetman.

Traf fought back with Jack Pinder fizzing a shot narrowly wide after an excellent pass from Jamie Wray, then the latter’s brother Alex had an effort saved by Steve Malone and Dane Ramos headed over in the 45th minute.

In injury-time Traf took the lead, a long through-ball bouncing into the path of Jamie Wray, who headed over a stranded Malone to spark wild celebrations among the Traf supporters.

The second half was a rather drab affair with very few chances, the first clear opening seeing Pier’s Luke Midgley head over from a free-kick when well-placed.

Just as it looked like Traf were going to follow their Kenward Cup final win with a second final success of the day over Pier, the latter levelled in injury-time to take the game to extra-time.

Sweeper Daz Swinger forced the ball home after Midgley had headed the ball across goal from a free-kick and despite a late rally from Traf, Pier hung on to force the penalty shoot-out.

Pier skipper Chris Watson, who had an excellent game in the heart of midfield, powered in the first penalty, sub Louis Palmer firing a low shot past Malone to make it 1-1.

Pier substitute John Stockell made it 2-1 and Ramos hit back for Traf to level again.

Swinger then had his shot saved by Chris Garton and Jamie Wray shot home to put Traf 3-3 up after three penalties apiece.

Andy Sheader, who shone at the hart of the Pier defence, fired in to make it 3-3, but then young Traf centre-half Kurtis Henderson blazed wide, an unlucky end to the day for the teenager, who had been Traf’s most impressive player in the final.

Weetman strode up to put Pier back in front, and joint player-manager Andy Noon showed nerves of steel to score Traf’s final spot-kick to take the shoot-out to sudden death.

Midgley scored to make it 5-4 to Pier, but sub Wayne Shaw kept his nerve to blast in another leveller for Traf.

Pier substitute Rob Farnell made it 6-5, Al Wray levelling, then Nick Bell struck for Pier and Newbould then equalised again to make it 7-7 after eight penalties apiece.

Rich Garton kept his cool to stroke his shot past his brother Chris in the Traf goal, leaving left-back Grant Ellwell to take the ninth penalty to keep his side in contention.

Unluckily for Ellwell his shot cannoned back off the post to hand victory to Pier, the players sprinting towards goal to celebrate with keeper Malone.

Pier manager Andy Goodwin was elated after the final whistle: “Every single one of those players deserves the credit for that cup final win. They refused to give in despite being behind for a long time and we hung on and Daz‘s late goal gave us another chance.”

Defender Andy Sheader added: “I think we had the better of the first half and one slip proved costly. We took a while to get going after the break but we hung in there and got a late leveller.”

Traf’s disappointed joint-manager Noon, who put in a good shift at right-back, said: “We have had a great season and have won the league by 12 points, we should have won today but they never gave up and got the late goal to take it to penalties.

“We will all stick together and will hopefully do well again next season.”