A sunny Monday evening at Harrod Sport Arena saw AFC Lynn Napier Reserves face Sprowston ‘A’ in the 4Work Primary Cup Final.
Sprowston lifted the trophy with a 4-2 victory, thanks to four goals and a Player of the Match performance from forward Scott Howard.
AFC Lynn Napier enjoyed a lot of possession throughout the game however it was The Boars' counter attacking that proved to be deadly with Howard on fire.
It was Lynn Napier who started the brighter of the two teams, with the opening stages of the game mostly spent in the Sprowston half, however they were unable to capitalise on their possession.
Approaching the 20-minute mark and Napier had their best chance of the opening stages thanks to a Neil Goodbourn free kick whipped in from the right-hand side. Garry Russon in the Sprowston goal spilled his catch for it to fall to Liam Simper who volleyed across the face of goal. The ball looked destined to hit the back of the next but Sprowston’s Jake Hagg was on the goal line and on hand to hack the ball away for a throw in.
Against the run of play it was Sprowston who took the lead when a long free kick entered the box and Thomas Beeby in goal was unable to claim. An aerial scramble ensued in which the ball was nodded towards Beeby and under pressure from Brandon Leggett, a ricochet off his chest took it towards Scott Howard who volleyed home from close range.
Only moments later Lynn were level when a through ball unlocked the Boars’ back line. Charlie Royle timed his run well to get in behind and showed great composure to slot the ball past a stranded Garry Russon.
On the half an hour mark the game took a twist again. With AFC Lynn Napier once again dictating play, it was Sprowston who once again went ahead on the counter when Ryan Goodby played a fantastic pass through to Howard. The forward showed good pace to get on the end of the pass, to then cut back on the edge of the area and beat Beeby with a great curling effort into the far-right corner.
As first half stoppage time was announced Howard nearly had his hat trick as he twisted on the edge of the box, firing a low drilled shot toward the bottom left corner. Beeby did brilliantly to get down and push it round the post. Jack Webster rose highest from the resulting corner, however could only direct his header wide.
Half Time – AFC Lynn Napier Reserves 1 – 2 Sprowston ‘A’
The second half started in the opposite fashion to the first, with Sprowston coming out of the blocks the quicker of the two sides. However much in the same way, they failed to turn positive possession into meaningful chances.
That was until 13 minutes into the second period when an attack down the left-hand side saw the ball passed across to Howard. The number 9 took a touch which saw the ball bounce up and struck it sweetly to see it swerve away from the keeper and hit the back of the net to secure his hat trick.
Once again only a few minutes later AFC Lynn Napier pulled a goal back when a corner was floated toward the back post and Danny Hayes climbed to meet the delivery. The big midfielder headed well, however a Sprowston player attempting to clear inadvertently deflected the ball completely past Russon, giving the keeper no hope of making the save.
As the second half approached the midway point, it was Lynn Napier putting the pressure on to try and find the equaliser, however Sprowston always looked dangerous on the counter.
This proved to be the case once again with Howard proving to be simply unplayable.
The forward dropped deep to meet a loose pass, laying it first time to Evan Norman, spinning off and making a pacey run in behind, he received the return pass before displaying some excellent skill to beat the defender. To finish, he calmly side footed it past the rushing Beeby to get his fourth of the game in stylish fashion.
Lynn Napier’s response was good and in the ten minutes after the goal, they saw Royle hit the bar and Sprowston rally to clear another off the line. Jack Royle then stepped up with some shots from distance only to see both efforts clear the crossbar.
The Boars’ back line held firm, and as the game approached the final stages the West Norfolk outfit began to go more direct with long balls and the Sprowston defenders were content to win challenges and clear away potential danger.
In the final moments Napier threw everything and everyone forward to try and grab an unlikely brace, however the Norwich based outfit managed the long period of stoppage time well, seeing out the game to become 4Work Primary Cup Champions.
Full Time - AFC Lynn Napier Reserves 2 – 4 Sprowston ‘A’
AFC Lynn Napier Reserves: Ben Andrews, Callum Bales, Oscar Warburton, Thomas Needham, Jaiden Vadhir, Zak Cork ©, Bradley Dagniho, Charlie Harris, Oliver Mitchell, Jak Reynolds, Jesse Fenn.
Subs: Jack Cobbold, Jack Greenwood, Henry Stoker, Lewis King, Quinn Fenn.
Sprowston ‘A’: George Riches, Finlay Page ©, Sam Gorbould, Jayden Wright, Jude Frostick, Josh Blower, Finley Whiteley, Alfie Calaz, Ben Terry, Tjay Kerr, Jake Poore.
Subs: George Eggett, Josh Gauntlett, Zak Jones, Joe Harris, Daniel Owusu Adu.
Referee: Christopher Fuller
Assistants: Nicholas Hunt & Francesca Catchpole
Fourth Official: Kevin Batty
Player of the Match: Scott Howard