Tuesday, 5 May 2015

St Leonards Social 1 v 1 Iden

Tuesday 5th May 2015
Robertsbridge Intermediate Cup Final
St Leonards Social won 4-3 on penalties
The Clappers, Robertsbridge
Admission by Programme: £2.00
Attendance: 70 (estimate)
Match Rating: 4

Yet another cup final was on the agenda for me this evening, and my second visit to a cup final within a week at The Clappers.

Tonight would quite an intriguing encounter between the runaway champions of the East Sussex League Premier Division, for whom a last game draw against reigning champions Hollington United prevented a 100% record for the league campaign, and Iden, mid table but have already competed in two cup competitions this season, losing the League Cup in a match I saw at Eastbourne Borough and winning the Hastings FA Intermediate Cup on Saturday after coming from 0-2 down and their opponents, Ore Athletic, having four players sent off. St Leonards Social won both league encounters, but Iden triumphed on their way to reaching the League Cup Final. To reach this evening's final, St Leonard's beat Sedlescombe Rangers 3-0 at home and then Westfield II 3-1 in the semi final, whilst Iden beat Robertsbridge United 6-1 at home, JC Tackleway 2-5 away, and then Ninfield United 0-2 away in the semi final.

On a very blustery evening, the game was very even for the first half hour, possibly with St Leonards Social superiority being negated by the conditions, and indeed they played a large part in Iden taking the lead on 29 minutes when a long range shot looped high up into the air, and the keeper could only grasp at thin air as the wind made the ball swerve around on its descent before dropping into the net. They almost doubled their lead within a minute when, from a corner, the ball was headed into the ground and bounced just over the bar. St Leonards Social's best chance of the half came on 39 minutes when some good footwork around the edge of the box resulted in a shot towards the far post which was well tipped wide.

Into the second half and St Leonards Social got back on level terms when all sorts of tangles in the area provoked several penalty shouts and players laying on the floor but eventually the ball was looped into the far corner from 12 yards. The game became more open as time ticked by, with both sides carving out decent goalscoring chances, although it became more fractious too, including a brawl. But neither side could find a winner and the same as last week's Junior Cup final, the advertised extra time did not take place and the game went straight to penalties.

With Iden taking the first penalty, both teams scored their first three penalties, but Iden failed to convert their final two, the keeper saving the fourth with his legs and the fifth penalty struck the outside of the left hand post, to cue wild celebrations amongst the St Leonards Social players, and it was they who lifted the cup shortly after the final whistle, to add it to the League title they have won this season.

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