East Riding Rangers FC lifted the Senior Country Cup after a closely fought 1-0 win over Pocklington Town 2nds at a wet Roy West Centre. Winger Craig Dibb’s chipped finish in the first-half proved to be decisive as the Humber Premier League side clinched their hands on the prestigious trophy.
It was a game of few clear-cut chances, but there was still plenty of action as Igli Nezaj saw his shot blocked by Liam Serginson, before Jack Mail headed wide from Dibb’s corner. Pocklington then were denied the opener by a great save by Andy Greer as Tom Knowles connected from Steve Mouncer’s cross, but Greer acrobatically pushed the striker’s header away.
Greer was called into action again moments later to hold Chris Dempsey’s drive, while Adam Falkingham was called into action in the other goal, holding Jay Akam’s effort.
The only goal of the game came on the 29th minute as referee Michael Robinson gave advantage in a East Riding Rangers’ attack and Dibb was released through on goal, before calmly chipping the onrushing Falkingham to open the scoring.
Rangers nearly doubled their lead in as many minutes as Matty Whittaker curled his effort wide, before Dibb struck wide from distance. Pocklington thought they scored an equaliser just before the break as Jack Holman fired wide following a great solo run.
It was a slow beginning to procedures in the second-half as Dibb drilled a free-kick wide before Pocklington appealed for a penalty just after the hour mark. Substitute Sam Shipley fired his free-kick off the Rangers’ defensive wall and was adamant that the ball hit a hand.
Pocklington pushed forward to get an equaliser as Whittaker fired a shot over, before at the other end Nezaj saw his poked effort deflect wide off a Pocklington defender. From the resulting corner, Dibb was very unlucky as his delivery eluded everyone and hit the top of the crossbar before bouncing behind for a goal kick.
In the final quarter of an hour, Pocklington threw everyone forward to find that equaliser as Reece Walker nearly diverted Connor Mathie’s cross into his own net, while Mail had to get a vital touch to deflect Whittaker’s shot wide.
Greer then produced another stunning save to deny Pocklington again, this time from Shipley as the midfielder was released on goal by Whittaker’s pass, but his finish was beaten away by an outstretched Greer. The two Pocklington midfielders linked up again, but Shipley’s shot was deflected wide. From the resulting corner, Craig Hargreaves headed wide, before a vital challenge from Dom Bordas denied Whittaker the chance to advance towards goal.
East Riding Rangers had their backs to the wall for the final few moments as Pocklington’s James Saltmer somehow couldn’t divert his header goal wards, before Shipley saw his free-kick hit the side-netting. In stoppage-time, Holman saw his cross-shot held by Greer with the last kick of the game as East Riding Rangers secured the Senior Country Cup.
EAST RIDING RANGERS FC: 1. Andy Greer (GK), 2. Dom Bordas (12. Chris Rogers 90’), 3. Reece Walker, 4. Sam Sherwood (C), 5. Tom Walker, 6. Jack Mail, 7. Craig Dibb, 8. Lee Bulman, 9. Igli Nezaj (16. Elliot Wood 88’), 10. Matty Whittaker (14. Sam Pullman 82’), 11. Jay Akam. Substitutes (Not Used): 15. Hayden Fraser, 17. Jake Clarkson.
POCKLINGTON TOWN 2NDS: 1. Adam Falkingham (GK), 2. Joe Bagley, 3. Craig Hargreaves, 4. Shaun Everidge (C) (12. Connor Mathie 62’), 5. Liam Serginson, 6. Chris Gowen, 7. Jason Nattrass (16. Sam Shipley 52’), 8. Steve Mouncer, 9. Tom Knowles (15. James Saltmer 72’), 10. Chris Dempsey, 11. Jack Holman. Substitutes (Not Used): 14. Craig Mathie, 17. Byron Draycott.
MATCH OFFICIALS: Michael Robinson (Referee), Mark Shimmin (Assistant Referee), Simon Keillor (Assistant Referee), Adam Shimmin (Fourth Official).
East Riding Rangers FC Joint Managers Craig Andrews & Tom Andrews:
“We are absolutely buzzing to win the Senior Country Cup! It has been a long and hard season and even more so with the current pandemic. I thought we commanded the first-half and played some great football, which was evident through the goal we scored with great build-up play and a top finish from Craig Dibb.
“Pocklington Town had the better of the second half and took the game to us and went very close on a few occasions, making it a very nail biting end to the game, but I thought we defended resolutely and just about deserved the win. We wish Pocklington all the best for the upcoming season and hopefully we come up against them again this season.
“After this win, we are now looking forward to the start of the Humber Premier League and hopefully go on another good cup run to defend the title that we won tonight!”
Pocklington Town 2nds Manager Richard Bower:
“I have to agree with the comments provided by both Craig & Tom Andrews; I thought East Riding Rangers edged the first half and were better in possession and on the ball.
“In the second half, we changed things around and put the pressure on their defensive line, but despite creating several half chances, they had a great goalkeeper in Andy Greer who was in good form and he produced some great saves to deny us.
“I would like to pass on my congratulations to East Riding Rangers FC for the win tonight and all the best for their upcoming season while for us, we’ll look forward ourselves to the start of our season.”