Gayton United Reserves won the 2018 Norfolk Primary Cup last night with a 2-1 victory over Celt Rangers at The FDC.
Second half goals from Corey Brady and Ash Smith saw Gayton go 2-0 up and, despite a late finish by Celt's Connor Alford, the West Norfolk side held on to become this year's winners.
The first half started slowly with neither side creating any clear cut chances of note, nor either keeper really being troubled. However Celt almost went ahead half way through the first period when a first time pass by James Hogbin set away Matthew Anderson who forced a fantastic save when one on one with Gayton's Matthew Nurse.
Action then switched to the opposite end of the pitch with Brady playing an inviting cross to Richard Cunliffe, only for the Rangers stopper, Lee Blackshaw to bravely punch away to safety. Anderson then showed his defensive qualities, getting to the ball first to prevent Jack Bradley from following up.
Gayton continued to apply the pressure with a floating free kick towards Freddie Pezzella at the back post, but the Rangers Captain Adam Hogg managed to get a toe to the ball first, resulting in a corner which was cleared by the Celt back line.
The second half started with a high tempo as both teams began to push forward. The deadlock was broken in the 50th minute when a Gayton corner was punched clear by Blackshaw but only to Jack Bradley on the right side of the box who drilled the ball back into the danger area. Pezella was on hand to collect the cross and set back perfectly for Brady to fire into the bottom left corner.
Celt may have had an equaliser shortly after when good play from Hayden Ingram saw the substitute turn his marker and deliver a teasing lofted cross into the area for Rhys Butler, only for him to head over from twelve yards.
Gayton United doubled their lead with 15 to go and it was Pezzella with the assist again as he played a perfectly weighted ball in behind the Celt back line for Ash Smith to run on to. The substitute’s pace saw him through one on one with Blackshaw and a strong left footed strike across goal nestled into the bottom right corner.
Rangers almost got a goal back a few minutes later when a deep cross found Chad Pillar in the box, the number 10 headed well but struck the woodwork with Darren Beckett heading the ball back in for Pillar to nonchalantly back heel towards goal from close range. With the goalkeeper coming out, Pillar was adjudged to have been offside when Beckett returned the ball in, however a determined Brady threw himself to chest the ball clear regardless.
Deep into added time Celt got a goal back when good play again from Beckett saw the number 9 deliver a brilliant ball into the danger area for Connor Alford to convert with a diving header.
Rangers threw everything forward to try and grab a last gasp equaliser and Beckett was involved again but for the wrong reasons when a second yellow saw him sent to the changing rooms with seconds remaining.
With time only left for a Celt throw and a Gayton clearance, the full time whistle blew and Gayton United Reserves became the 2018 winners of the Norfolk Primary Cup.
Full Time - Celt Rangers 1-2 Gayton United Reserves
Celt Rangers: Lee Blackshaw, Kray Cross, Andrew Lilly, Pat Lochrie, Lewis Smith, Adam Hogg ©, Chad Pillar, Matthew Anderson, Brandon Ingram, James Hogbin & Scott Calver.
Subs: Rhys Butler, Darren Beckett, Connor Alford, Remi Bullent, Hayden Ingram.
Gayton United Reserves: Matthew Nurse, Curtis Senter, Lee Ballard, Michael Rix ©, Freddie Pezzella, James Rix, Rob Preira, Tom Cunliffe, Jack Bradley, Richard Cunliffe & Corey Brady.
Subs: Nick Brennock, Steve Pearson, Ateko Opaluwa, Graham Moss, Ash Smith.
Player of the Match: Lee Ballard