There was high drama to end the Sunday league season when the CML Cup final went to penalty kicks to decide the winner after league champions Fidel Wanderers and CML Claymores were locked at one apiece after regulation time. With no extra time in the competition, the tie moved straight to penalties where CML’s Kevin Gillett emerged as his side’s hero by firing home the last spot-kick.
It was the second year in a row that the final had to be settled by penalty kicks and was a thrilling end to a fantastic Sunday league season with the Claymores winning the cup they share a sponsor with for the first time.
The Claymores coach, Chris Turrell said, “I’m delighted for the guys. It’s been a long time coming getting a trophy, they certainly did it the hard way with equal measures of good football and graft. They can definitely be proud of themselves.”
In a match where the defenses dominated, very few clear-cut chances were created and as a result neither goalkeeper was over-employed.
Claymores made the break through on seven minutes when a ball over the Wanderers back-line found Steve Lovell and with the Wanderers defenders appealing for offside, Lovell calmly picked fired at the near post to score.
Wanderers hit back with a well worked equalizer after 24 minutes when Peppe Buchanan’s good work on the left flank was rewarded as his cross was met by striker Kiegel “Stamma” Atkinson who headed into the corner.
With 15 minutes left, Wanderers were handed an unlikely initiative when CML’s Steve Halliday was ejected from the field following a straight red card for using profane language to the referee.
However, for the Wanderers the extra man advantage was effectively canceled out when the darkening skies burst open and a deluge of rain fell, making it near impossible to pass the ball as it got held up in puddles.
With so little time left to play, the referee rightly continued, when perhaps, if it had happened in the first half, the play may have been stopped to allow the water to drain.
For the penalties, Wanderers won the toss and elected to take theirs first, with Emmanuel Brown converting his.
CML responded through Stefan Komos. The mounting pressure started to be felt by the players with three misses.
Wanderers striker Derron Campbell saw Ryan Ebanks in the CML goal parry his attempt and this was followed by CML’s Mike Hall blazing over the bar.
Wanderers then missed their next one when Ebanks got down low to knock away Nick Wellington’s attempt.
CML then seized the advantage through Lovell’s successful conversion to make it 2-1.
Podge Brosnan then kept Wanderers’ hopes alive by converting his kick and this was followed by a successful kick by Luciano De Riso to make it 3-2 with each side having one penalty left to take.
Atkinson kept his cool to tie the score, which left it open for Gillett to secure it for CML.
He duly obliged, sparking celebrations and deservedly win the cup 4-3 on penalties and round off a memorable CML Cup final.