Malet 2.0 triumph in the Floodlight Cup Final
Malet 2.0 won their first ever piece of silverware after winning the Floodlight Cup in an exciting five goal thriller against last seasons winners HUBS United.
Danny Chambers netted the decisive goal in the second half to secure a 3-2 victory for Malet in an historic night for the club.
Malet set their stall out early at a floodlit Roy West Centre, with Ben Lowery firing his shot wide within the opening minute of the game. After the early scare, holders Hubs United then looked to respond with Chris Walker seeing his cross caught by Rich Foster, before the Malet keeper was forced into a smart save to push Ed Griffiths’ drive away.
United then took the lead with twelve minutes on the clock. Ash McWilliam rose highest from a great corner delivery and smashed his header past Foster to open the scoring. United could have doubled the lead minutes later as Malet got dispossessed from their own short free-kick, but Conner Watson dragged his shot wide.
Malet’s Scott Wheeldon was very unlucky to see his well-struck free-kick go just wide of the post before Lewis Straw’s cross couldn’t be diverted goal wards by Chambers. Malet equalised on the twenty minute mark as a defence-splitting pass found Chambers one-v-one with goalkeeper Oliver Eastwood, and the striker made no mistake from close-range as he smashed the ball into the bottom corner.
United almost retook the lead moments later as Watson saw his shot blocked before Foster produced a stunning save to deny Tom Attwood. Foster kept the scoreline level again with a double-save, first beating away Walker’s drive before holding Aidan Wellham’s rebound.
Foster’s saves proved vital as Malet took the lead with nine minutes left to play of the first half. Wheeldon turned the defender before calmly firing the ball into the bottom corner with a long-ranged strike. However, United equalised just three minutes later as a long free-kick dropped for Wellham to finish past the stranded Foster. At the other end, Eastwood had to be alert to deny Wheeldon, Chambers and Gary Hodgson in quick succession as it ended level at half-time.
In the second half, Malet had the first chances of the half, heading a chance wide before a shot was blocked in quick succession. Wellham then saw his volley blocked after a good free-kick by Phil Pickering.
Josh Fairburn was next to take aim, drilling his low shot across goal, before Chambers fired wide following a short corner routine. It was end to end action and Wellham narrowly fired over from a deflected cross before substitute Ben Sildurn nearly picked out the runs of Wellham and Grant Percival at the back post.
The decisive goal was scored on the hour mark as Scott Benson’s free-kick was spilled by Eastwood and Chambers looped the ball into the empty net to put Malet into the lead. Chambers was then denied his hat-trick after seeing his shot blocked by HUBS United Captain Paul Giblin.
United pushed for an equaliser and Percival was denied superbly by a well-timed block from Benson before Foster tipped over Sildurn’s free-kick. In the other goal, Eastwood produced two stunning saves, pushing an initial drive behind and then flicked the resulting corner delivery onto the crossbar.
United had two final chances to equalise the game and send it to penalites, first seeing a headed attempt cleared off the line, before Foster pushed away a fierce drive after a short corner routine, but Malet held on to secure the Floodlight Cup.
MALET 2.0: Rich Foster (GK), Alex Johnson, George Eastwood, Jordan Pickering, Luke Moxon, Grant Silk (C), Lewis Andrews, Gary Hodgson, Ben Lowery, Luke Wheeldon, Josh Fairburn. Substitutes: Lewis Straw, Danny Chambers, Scott Benson, Isacc Johnson, Lewis Poskitt.
HUBS UNITED: 1. Oliver Eastwood (GK), 12. Shaun Brown, 4. Lewis Jones, 15. Paul Giblin (C), 3. Phil Pickering, 10. Grant Percival, 2. Ed Griffiths, 8. Ash McWilliam, 5. Conner Watson, 11. Chris Walker, 14. Tom Attwood. Substitutes: 16. Richard Foster, 7. Aidan Welham, Jonny Slater, Ben Sildurn.
Malet 2.0 Striker Danny Chambers:
“I’m really pleased with the win. We’ve just started the team this season and it was really nice to play with friends and win the cup.
“I’m delighted with the goals I scored; it was my first game back to be fair in ages. I played in the semi-final, but played out of position a bit, so it was nice to play up front and get a couple of goals.
“It’s also nice to score the winner. The goalkeeper has dropped Scott Benson’s free-kick and I’ve just hooked it over and luckily enough it went over the line and I saw the linesman flagging to say it was in so it was nice to see.
“HUBS United are obviously a really good team. I think they won the League and Cup last year with the double, so it just shows for itself how good they are and I think it shows how well we performed on the day to turn them over really, but obviously they’re a really good side and hopefully we’ll have a few more encounters with them in the future.
“Hopefully this win will breed confidence. Next year, the aim is to win the league and I think if we stick together with the group of lads we’ve got then we’ll have a really good chance of doing it.”
HUBS United Captain Paul Giblin:
“It’s a very tough one to take (the defeat); it’s probably the worst we’ve played all season to be fair. Give Malet 2.0 credit though, because they played really well tonight. They wanted it more and they battled harder for it.
“It was tough to lose the cup, because we were aiming to win the 'Double Double’ after winning the league and cup last year. That’s what we were aiming for tonight, but I think we possibly went into the game a little bit overconfident and we started off slow and they hit us hard so it was a tough one.
“As I said they played really well; ten out of ten and I can’t fault them at all. They beat us on the break with pace and they were tough in the tackle and they just wanted it more than us.
“This defeat will give us a push, absolutely. I think we’ve gone the whole season unbeaten and this is the first game we’ve lost in about twenty games so it’s a tough one to take, but we’ll definitely bounce back straight away.”