Penalty shoot-out drama in Norfolk Christian cup final
Crowds were treated to two of the closest men’s finals of the Norfolk Christian Football League in recent years, including a dramatic penalty shoot-out, on Saturday (May 7). Keith Morris reports.
League favourites Norwich Central Baptist Church took on underdogs UEA Harriers in the Bishop Maurice Wood Cup in front of a crowd or around 90 people at Norfolk FA’s Field of Dreams venue at the FDC in Bowthorpe.
NCBC took an early lead through league golden boot winner Daniel Jervis, who added to his 33 goals for the season by heading into the top corner of the net.
Harriers fought to establish themselves in the game and, after 35 mins, Jack Stevens rose to head a free kick from the edge of the box into the goal for a deserved equaliser and make it 1-1 at half-time.
In the 65th minute, Stevens put UEA into the lead with a second headed goal. NCBC did not give up though and a great free kick from around 30 yards out by midfielder Nat Bash curled into the top corner of the goal to take the final into extra time.
Both teams were almost out on their feet by now, on a very hot afternoon, and extra time was uneventful until NCBC cleared a UEA effort off their own goal line with five minutes left to take it into a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
NCBC went first and scored their first three penalties while UEA put one of theirs past the post. Harriers keeper, Greg Rix, then played a starring role by saving the final two NCBC penalty kicks, leaving manager George Alton the opportunity to win the cup with the last kick – which he did with aplomb to spark wild celebrations among the student team.
Earlier in the day, Soul Church and King’s Palace played in the Wroxham Road Shield final at the Field of Dreams in front of a crowd of over 60 in another close game.
Soul started the first half the stronger but King’s managed to hold on to leave it 0-0 at half-time.
King’s came out more determined in the second half and started to exert themselves on the game. Matthew Kettle broke the deadlock in the 51st minute with a stunning shot from outside the box to put King’s ahead.
King’s striker Al Coulson was put through to calmly chip the on-rushing Soul keeper to make it 2-0 on 62 minutes.
Soul fought until the end but could not score a goal which would have brought them back into the game.
The trophy ceremonies were presided over by league vice-chairman Jim Green, who said: “It was wonderful day with two well-contested games played to a high standard but in the right spirit. They were the closest games we have seen for a few years, especially the penalty shoot-out drama in the Bishop’s Cup final.
"It was such a great advert for the league in every way, you could not have asked for a better climax to the season.All players and teams should be proud to have taken part."
The trophies were presented by Surrey Chapel pastor (and former football team captain) Gary Ryan.
Long-standing league servant, Phil Dove, the man behind most of the league's results and statistics, was presented with the Sam Hollinger Long Service Trophy by Gary.
See below for a full picture gallery of both finals.