The Sunday Football League had a dramatic end to its season in the weekend when King’s Head and Maples Revolution had to take penalties to decide the winner of the Cayman Physiotherapy Cup Final after tying 2-2 after regulation time.
It was a tight start to the final at the Annex as both sides took time to settle down – but it was King’s Head that broke the deadlock on twenty-seven minutes by scoring the only goal of the first half when James Cooper stooped low at the back post to head home and finish off a lightening counterattack.
Whatever the Maples’ coach said to his players at halftime certainly had the desired effect, as his side were on the front foot from the first whistle of the second half. They had a glorious chance to equalise, when a slick passing move resulted in a shot thundering back off the crossbar from ten yards. Just moments later they did manage to force the equaliser when after an almighty scramble in the box, Graham Blythe was unfortunate to knock the ball past his own goalkeeper and into the net to tie the match at 1-1.
Then just three minutes after equalizing, the final swung to Maples’ advantage by snatching the lead at a set piece free kick that was swung into the 6-yard box, where Richard Crozier poked his foot through a forest of legs to make contact with the ball and make it 2-1.
King’s Head then had to show some real urgency to get back into the match, and with just nine minutes remaining they did just that. Another swift counterattack down the right wing resulted in a deep cross to the back post where Niall Hanna was on hand to nod home from two yards to tie the game at 2-2.
With the clock ticking down, neither side were eager to take any further risks to snatch a winning goal, and both teams resigned themselves to penalty kicks to decide the outcome.
From the resulting shoot-out it was King’s Head goalkeeper Ryan Ebanks who emerged as his side’s hero by saving two of Maples’ spot kicks. This then set up the opportunity for Padraig Brosnan to win the cup for King’s Head and the Irishman made no mistake from 12-yards for a 4-2 victory and an exciting climax to the final.
The outcome was rough justice on Maples who had put so much into producing a highly entertaining cup final, and left their players bitterly disappointed to come away empty handed. However, it was King’s Head who, after winning the league title, emerged triumphant in what was the third successive year the final has gone to penalties to decide a winner.