Cringleford overcame Mulbarton Wanderers to lift the Norfolk Veterans Cup in association with Christiaan Partridge Photography this afternoon.
Goals from Ben Carver, Darren Huckerby, Jordan Blyth and Tom Fitchew saw Cringleford overcome an Ali Shearer brace to win the 2021 Norfolk Veterans Cup Final.
The opening phases saw Mulbarton enjoy some positive possession and Ali Shearer found himself in a good position on the 5th minute, only for the Cringleford back line to crowd him out.
But it was Cringleford who opened the scoring with a Ben Carver header after Adam Drury pushed forward and delivered a brilliant cross from the left hand side.
Cringleford then settled into the game and began to exert more pressure on their opponents, passing the ball around effectively.
They almost doubled their lead when Josh Carus chested down a corner, pivoted and hit his volley just over the bar. Darren Huckerby also fired narrowly over from a free kick 30 yards out.
Against the run of play, Wanderers nearly levelled the score when a mix up at the back allowed Shearer to get a shot off. Scott Howie did well to make the save however the Mulbarton forward should have found the net.
As often in football, Mulbarton were made to pay for not taking that chance almost instantly, when some neat play between Huckerby and Jordan Blyth saw Carver teed up nicely for a tap in and his second of the game.
Only moments later, Cringleford made it three when David Coyle played a great through ball for Huckerby to go through 1v1 and slot it past Chris Brownbridge in the Wanderers goal.
The home side extender their advantage even further half-way through the first half, when Drury found Blythe with a pin point ball from deep. The tall forward made no mistake with such a chance, and gave Cringleford their fourth goal of the game.
Mulbarton pulled a goal back on the half an hour mark as Shearer finally got the goal he’d been threatening, sliding it into the bottom corner from the righthand side of the box. He nearly scored a second minutes later after good work from Danny Mckail down the left hand side.
Mckail could have got on the scoresheet himself just after when he brought down a brilliant cross field ball and cut inside to fire a shot into the top right corner. Howie pulled off a fantastic save to tip the past the post.
As half time approached Mulbarton had grown into the game more and began to apply pressure to the Cringleford back line, particularly with aerial balls, however Cringleford maintained their big threat on the counter.
Despite chances for both sides, neither were able to convert before the break.
Half time – Cringleford 4 – 1 Mulbarton
The second period started more evenly matched, with both teams enjoying possession and both having a couple of half chances a piece.
Much like the first half however, after ten minutes Cringleford began to push forward more. Coyle had a shot blocked from the right-hand side and Huckerby showed off some nifty footwork in the box before being blocked off.
Carver had his attempt at a hat-trick snuffed out by the Wanderers defence before Gavin Lemmon found himself in the Referee’s book for a late challenge on Danny Self, the latter trying to counter for Mulbarton.
Mulbarton were effective with the counter, with Dan Barnes enjoying spells in the middle of the pitch and Chris Holmes firing into the side netting. Holmes found space on the left shortly after and unleashed a 30-yard strike that sailed narrowly over the bar.
Huckerby was enjoying his time on the left, using his pace to get at the Wanderers defence, and with support from Drury it looked as though a goal would come from there.
Sure enough on 70 minutes Cringleford found the goal to kill the game, with Huckerby and Drury combining and the latter crossing to substitute Tom Fitchew for an easy finish.
With three assists in the game, Drury nearly got on the scoresheet himself, when Huckerby slid the ball across to the penalty spot. Despite a good first touch the ex-Norwich man blazed his strike over the bar.
Mulbarton rallied in the closing stages and Shearer continued to cause problems. The number 9 got his brace after Danny Brown played a perfect through ball from the edge of the area, and despite the tight angle Shearer made no mistake.
In stoppage time Cringleford continued to search for another goal and almost found a sixth when Lemmon produced some good footwork on the edge of the box, however his low drive toward the bottom left corner was just the wrong side of the post.
Mulbarton could barely muster a counter attack in the final minutes, and Cringleford saw out the remainder of the game to deservedly win the cup.
Final Score: Cringleford 5 – 2 Mulbarton
Cringleford: Scott Howie, Karl Izzard, Adam Drury, Rudi Hare ©, Josh Carus, Darren Huckerby, Gavin Lemmon, Ben Carver, Jordan Blyth, Mark Hallam, David Coyle.
Subs: Tom Fitchew, Simon Nicholl, Kelvin Willimot, Keith Sivier, Carl Musgrove.
Mulbarton: Chris Brownbridge ©, Daniel Appleton, Jon Maslin, Mark Sutcliffe, Danny Mckail, Tom Halliwell, Paul Suggitt, Martin Cornish, Danny Self, Dan Barnes, Ali Shearer.
Subs: Danny Brown, Chris Holmes, Dean Fitzgerald, Chris Sutcliffe, Craig Burrows.
Referee: Shaun Catchpole
Assistants: Chris Gray & Gary Chaplin
Fourth Official: Phil South
Player of the Match: Adam Drury
Photography: Cyan Fullbrook