Slideshow: Stevenage Sunday Football League round-up
The Comet Stevenage Sunday Football League round-up There was cup drama in the sunshine as the last silverware of the season was decided. The final day of the season on Sunday saw two eagerly-anticipated cup finals at the home of Stevenage Boro. There wer
The Comet Stevenage Sunday Football League round-up
There was cup drama in the sunshine as the last silverware of the season was decided.
The final day of the season on Sunday saw two eagerly-anticipated cup finals at the home of Stevenage Boro. There were two late winners, three red cards, and plenty of good football played.
In the morning match, the biggest crowd of all the finals saw the top two go head-to-head in the Division One Cup.
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Champions Pied Piper took the lead through Tom Hillard. They piled on more pressure and Golden Boot winner Steve Teale saw an audacious effort crash off the crossbar.
Just as Pig and Whistle started to turn the screw, they were dealt a blow when a lunge on their keeper Luke Turner left him with raking studmarks across his chest and they were forced to put the replacement in - top scorer John Johnston.
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Shortly after half-time, Piper were reduced to 10 men courtesy of Lee Kitching for retaliation.
The ever impressive Ricky Lawrence pulled off some clever footwork and scored a terrific goal into the top corner from the edge of the box to level matters, while Tom Montague and Steve Schumann were keeping things solid at the back.
Pig's chances were then dealt another blow when captain Jason Milburn was sent off for a second yellow card after a rash challenge.
With extra-time looming, Lawrence danced his way through the midfield, played the ball to Callum Newbury, who went round the full-back and squared to Gary Chambers. His shot was tipped on to the crossbar by Paul Saunders, but as it dropped, Richard Griffiths dived in to head home and send a large portion of the crowd into raptures.
Moments later, the whistle went and a pitch invasion was inevitable as the Pig hoards entered the hallowed Boro turf and manager Tony Goldsmith was soaked by the contents of an ice bucket!
With the crowd just out of the ground, players and officials were arriving for the afternoon game, the small matter of Nirankari Sports Sabha versus Dun Cow in the KLM Challenge Cup final.
Twenty minutes in, Cow were strolling to victory and were looking good for a fifth success in six years as Adam Furness prodded home the opener from close range via a quick Dave Kiddie free-kick.
The game then became scrappy with tackles flying in all over the pitch, before a ball over the top of the Nirankari defence saw experienced defender Neil Armstrong divert it past his own keeper for an own goal.
After half-time, Nirankari had a point to prove and had several good chances before Kiddie missed a sitter six yards out which would have almost certainly won the cup for Cow. This was the turning point as left-back Andrew Iwediuno put the finishing touch on a well-worked corner to pull one back.
Two Nirankari substitutes, Scott Orphanou and Adam Lamacraft, were in great form and forced Cow into some last-ditch defending.
With half an hour remaining, trouble was brewing and after a tackle from Sam Gittings on Ben L'Honore, Furness got himself involved in an altercation and was dealt a red card after pushing the latter in the face with the ball in his hands.
They used the extra man well and pressed down the wings, particularly the left with Orphanou, who on one occasion rode one challenge, before coolly slotting home past the keeper for the equaliser.
With the game destined for extra-time, Andrew Levy got the ball and took on two players before a cool finish won the game.
The crowd went home happy having paid a £3 entry fee for such a thrilling game of football and a great advert for the league.
Nirankari Sports Sabha completed the Premier Division 'double' after also strolling to victory on Friday night against a dogged Bottles at Broadhall Way. Their opponents enjoyed a good start to the game as they threatened with a couple of chances going astray. However, the breakthrough came courtesy of Orphanou before they doubled the lead through big striker Levy.
After the break, Nirankari dominated the game and ended any hopes of a comeback as Neil Armstrong popped up from the back to stab home a third following a corner. They were awarded a penalty as Orphanou was fouled, Leeroy Williams stepped up, only for goalkeeper Wayne Dailly to make a good save to his bottom right.
However, from the resultant corner, impressive youngster Williams made up for it following a goalmouth scramble. Captain Mark Yearwood began showing his box of tricks before the final whistle signalled manager Bobby Dhillon being sprayed with champagne.
Dun Cow Res also completed a double, adding the Division Two Cup to go with their league and county cup success after a comfortable win over Royal Oak at Hitchin Town's Top Field last Thursday. James Dillnutt (two), Jason Drackford and Mark Phillips were on target. It completed a magnificent first season in management for the team of Adam Paine and Danny Huggins.
* Compiled by Darren 'Statto' Jones
Thursday, May 8
Division Two Cup, final: Dun Cow Res 4 Royal Oak 0.
Friday, May 9
Premier Division Cup, final: Nirankari SS 4 Bottles 0.
Sunday, May 11
Division One Cup, final: Pig and Whistle 2 Pied Piper 1.
KLM Challenge Cup, final: Nirankari SS 3 Dun Cow 2.