STAFFORDSHIRE FA CHALLENGE CUP FINAL
Madeley White Star 1-0 Rushall Olympic U21
Monday 25 March 2019
Silkmore Lane, Brocton FC
It was a cool night in Stafford for the opening County Cup final of the 2018/19 season, with Madeley White Star edging to a 1-0 win over Rushall Olympic U21 to retain the trophy they won 12 months previously.
Madeley started on the front foot but were unable to create a clear cut chance, with Rushall’s Soms Sibanda having the first shot on target on 10 minutes - forcing Ryan Brown into a save.
It was Rushall’s ‘keeper Callum Hayward who was forced into action next, making a smart save to deny Madeley’s Sam Bettley-Smith who had won the ball from Rushall’s Sam McCarthy before advancing unchallenged towards goal.
Hayward was certainly the busier of the two ‘keepers, saving with his legs from a Harvey Lowe shot to prevent his team going behind. However, in fairness, chances were few and far between with only a late penalty shout for Bettley-Smith of note as the teams went in goalless at the break.
Rushall started brightly in the second half and looked dangerous, with Sibanda again advancing into the penalty area but firing wide of the far post; and It was not long before the winning goal came at the other end.
Kieran Brown, who had been a thorn in the Pics side all evening, chased a long ball into the box and fired a shot across the ‘keeper, which found its way into the net despite the attempts of a Rushall defender to clear.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Rushall and the game became a little scrappy with neither side able to trouble the opposing ‘keepers; but it was Brown again who almost sealed the win in the final minute.
His free-kick looked destined for the top corner but Hayward was equal to it, clawing the ball away for a corner.
Despite late pressure from Rushall, it was not to be and it was Madeley who reclaimed the trophy in what was a competitive game of football on an excellent playing surface.
Congratulations to both teams on reaching the final and thanks to all who came along to support the teams on the night.