Martonian FC won the Qualifying Cup in their last ever game with a 4-1 victory over Leven Members Reserves. A brace from Gareth Owen and further goals from Luke Stockdale and Zac Mills secured the silverware for Martonians, with Josh Hall scoring a stoppage-time penalty for Leven.
It was Martonians who created the first chance of the game as Ben I’Anson sliced his shot wide, before Paul Cobbold was sharp to gather Hall’s free-kick delivery. The Leven midfielder whipped another dangerous free-kick into the penalty area for Ian Simpson, but he could only head his effort at Cobbold.
Simpson had another attempt blocked, before Andrew Thompson saw his shot deflect wide. Martonian took the lead from the resulting corner as Stockdale rose highest to head in the opener. Leven then looked to respond almost immediately as Dave Clark volleyed an effort over, before Dan Howliston saw his deflected strike saved by Cobbold. Lewis Bean then produced a stunning tackle to deny Darren Spouce while Simpson curled a shot narrowly wide past the post.
Kye Proughton then forced a smart save from Cobbold, before Martonian got their second goal of the game. Owen skilled past the defender and rifled his right-footed strike past the dive of Rich Riley into the far corner to double Martonian’s lead. Cobbold then produced a fantastic save from point-blank range to deny the header from Ryan Silvestri, before in the other goal, Riley denied Thompson with a fine stop.
In the second half, I’Anson dragged a shot wide from close-range while Hall fired two free-kicks off target. Martonian scored their third goal on the 54th minute as Owen brought down the ball from a long free-kick and drilled his low shot under Riley to score. Stockdale nearly scored a fourth for Martonian just six minutes later as he saw his deflected effort go wide, before Owen fired wide following a goalmouth scramble.
Leven continued to push forward to get themselves back in the game and once again found Cobbold in great form as he denied Proughton’s drive, before he produced his best save of the night to push Silvestri’s curling effort past the post. I’Anson then hit the post with his header before Martonian scored their fourth. A low cross from the right wasn’t cleared by the Leven defence and Mills rolled the ball into the net.
In stoppage-time, Leven managed to score a consolation from the penalty spot. After Silvestri was brought down in the penalty area, referee Will Dodds Pointed to the spot. Hall stepped up and slotted his penalty into the far corner, despite Cobbold going the right way. However, thirty seconds from the restart, Dodds blew the final whistle as it sparked wild celebrations on the Martonian bench as they secured the Qualifying Cup.
MARTONIAN FC: 1. Paul Cobbold (GK), 8. Zac Mills, 3. Domonic Richardson, 5. Luke Stockdale, 13. Lewis Bean, 18. Dale Nelthorpe, 14. Gareth Owen, 9. David Fenton, 4. Danny Tighe, 10. Ben I’Anson, 12. Ryan Tramner. Substitutes: 6. Carl Taylor, 6. Louis Harley, 7. Connor Ashby, 2. Jason Bartley, 11. Andrew Thompson.
LEVEN MEMBERS RESERVES: 1. Rich Riley (GK), 12. Dave Clark, 16. Max Guest, 8. Josh Hall, 3. Kyle Naylor, 6. Dan Howliston, 10. Jay Harrison, 2. Ian Simpson, 7. James Jarvis, 5. Kye Broughton, 9. Darren Spouce. Substitutes: 14. Adam Hickson, 17. Ryan Silvestri, 11. Mark Stathers, 4. Martin Hotts, 15. Tom Kennedy.
Match Officials: Will Dodds (Referee), Luke Tompkins & Matthew Edwards (Assistant Referee’s), Rich Jubb (Fourth Official)
Martonian FC Manager Kevin Wood:
“After a cagey ten minutes, the game seemed to settle and Leven did play on the front foot with Key Broughton causing us lots of problems. However, we stuck together and we broke the deadlock through a great emphatic header by Luke Stockdale. I thought from that point we controlled the game with Dale Nelthorpe and Gareth Owen doing really well in the middle.
“Owen deserved his goal to make it 2-0 and I am happy that when Leven attacked, Paul Cobbold produced some stunning saves. I think David Fenton should have finished the tie before half-time, but we started the second-half bright and when Owen scored his second, it looked like he sealed it for us.
“Cobbold produced some more great saves and we got our fourth through Zac Mills, but fair play to Leven who kept on going and got their just reward from the penalty spot. I have to say well done to both sides and good luck to Leven for their upcoming season.”
Leven Members Manager Max Guest:
“It was a fairly even match that saw us come second to a well organised Martonian side. The game was won by them bossing in the midfield when in possession and they took their chances when they came around. That was the difference tonight and we never really created any clear-cut chances and was far too wasteful when it came to set-pieces in dangerous areas.
“It was a great solo run by Ryan Silvestri that saw him taken down for the penalty and despite it was a consolation goal from Josh Hall, he slotted that penalty well. On another day though, it might have gone our way, but the team who took their chances won at the end of the day. Well played Martonian and good luck for the future.”