Nettleham FC 4 -2 Queen Athletic
Tonight saw the first of the League’s four domestic cup finals played when the Jock Mitchell Memorial Trophy took centre stage at Lincoln Moorlands Railway Football Ground.
A health looking attendance and a warm evening greeted Nettleham and Queen Athletic as they took to the pitch which looked in excellent condition.
The early exchanges were shaded territoriality by Nettleham who looked to try to get on the front foot at every possible opportunity but they were up against a hard working and well organised Queen defense. The Queen keeper, Danny Mountcastle, had to be alert in the 18th minute when Chris O’Mahoney attempted to lob the ball over his head but the keeper pulled off an excellent save as the ball appeared to be heading for the top corner. Queen responded well and four minutes later they had a good chance of their own when James Parkinson shot just wide from just inside the box when he was put through on goal.
Nettleham came the closest to taking the lead on 43 minutes when a quality ball played in from a corner by Tom Parker found Liam Hutchinson out jumping his marker at the far post to send the ball goalwards. With keeper Mountcastle beaten the ball crashed back off the post and was scrambled to safety by the grateful Queen defenders.
The rest bite was only only short lived however as Nettleham took the lead from their next corner again taken by the expert delivery from Parker. He crossed again from the attacking right and this time the delightful cross was met by Queen defender John Marklew who only succeeded in heading into his own net as he tried to clear the ball away for another corner. As a neutral it could be said that on possession and chances, the goal was perhaps on the cards for Nettleham, however the unfortunate manner in which it arrived was of no consequence to the team celebrating the lead which had come so close to the half time break.
The second half of the game exploded into action with three goals being scored within seven minutes of the restart. Nettleham doubled their lead after 48 minutes when Bryan Skayman rounded keeper Mountcastle to pass the ball into the empty net. A minute later and Queen Athletic were back in the contest when the ball arrived at the feet of the unmarked Joel Sturgess who lashed the ball home with Nettleham Keeper Eddie Wilson appearing to be unsighted when the shot came in. Three minutes later and the game was all square again when Adam Foxon found himself unmarked in the Nettleham area and he had the presence and skill to loop a header over Nettleham keeper Wilson to level the scores. Wilson did manage to get a hand on the ball but could only help it on the way as it nestled in the top corner. Now it was definitely game on with both sides playing some excellent football.
Queen had a great opportunity to take the lead just two minutes later when a cross found the unmarked James Parkinson some 6 yards out but his header was straight at keeper Wilson who gratefully hung on to the ball as he looked to settle his defenders who appeared at this stage to be reeling a little from the two quick goals that had just been scored against them.
Both sides enjoyed good second half possession without testing the goal keepers too regularly until Nettleham regained the lead in the 76th minute. Bryan Skayman got free down the right hand side before pulling the ball back to Chris O’Mahony who took a touch before neatly firing the ball home.
Soon after the game was effectively won when the Queen defence failed to clear a corner which allowed Joe Simpson to drill the ball home.
There were no further goals and Nettleham ran out the winners by 4 goals to 2. This proved to be a most enjoyable and entertaining game to watch and was a credit to both teams who played the game in an excellent spirit with the desire and commitment worthy of any cup final. The match Officials are also to be congratulated for their excellent performance, lead by referee Mr Mike Redgrift.
The presentation was made by Mr Ian Mitchell, assisted by Councillor Biff Bean.
Next up is the Fred Quibell Junior Cup which will be played tomorrow night at Lincoln Moorlands Railway Football Ground and this features two teams that have played their football in Division Two this season, namely Plough Sturton and Coningsby FC. Kick-Off is at 7.30pm.