LION LIFT TROPHY
Lion finally won some silverware with this exciting and enthralling Cannock Charity cup final with old rivals Heath Hayes at Great Wryley.
On a bone hard dry pitch in blustery conditions Lion began brightly and on 5 minutes Matty H had a run down the left to create the first scoring chance. However a minute later diaaster struck when Arch in the Lion goal attempted a quick pass in his own area which the Hayes striker intercepted and slotted into an empty net. This spurred Hayes on and Arch did well to save from a Hayes free kick in the 13th minute. On 25 minutes Billy Rollins won a tackle on the left flank and then produced a cross which Paul Dutton fired narrowly wide. Hayes however were now putting Lion under the cosh and their speedy strikers were causing havoc amongst the Lion defence. Following some more good work by the Hayes midfield Lion fell further behind when their No. 7 netted from close range on 39 minutes.
Two nil down at half time there seemed no way back for the Lion. However whatever was said in the dressing room during the interval galvanised them on their return to play. Right from the re-start Lion won every tackle and header and their football seemed to take over. On 51 minutes Pitchy won a ball on the right and in the ensuing melee Paul Dutton scrambled the ball home to reduce the arrears. Seven minutes later Lion won a free kick 20 yards out and Paul Dutton fired the ball into the bottom left corner for the equalizer. Lion were on fire now and poured forward at every opportunity. From one of these attacks Lion won another free kick in front of goal on 80 minutes. Up stepped Paul Dutton again and this time he hammered the ball in the top right corner to put Lion in the lead and record his personal hat trick. With 4 minutes remaining on the clock the referee awarded Hayes a free kick on the left touchline level with the Lion penalty area. From the resultant cross the Hayes strker headed a hotly disputed equalizer.
Three minutes into extra time Lion won a corner on the right which Pitchy took. The ball was knocked back out of the area to Hilly on the edge who immediately produced a scissors kick on the volley. The ball arrowed into the right hand top corner to put Lion back into the lead 4-3. Lion had the majority of the play for the remains of extra time but with a couple of minutes of playing time left their no 10 produced a tremendous run and shot to score yet another equalizer. Four all at the end of extra time and the game went into penalty shoot out. Lion won the toss and started first. Matty H, Sam, Billy, Hilly and Pitchy were all on the mark giving the Hayes keeper no chance. Arch couldn't get anywhere near the first four Hayes penalties but covered himself in glory keeping out the last one.
An absolutely entertaining and absorbing contest for the neutral with Lion looking dead and buried at half time but in the final analysis proving worthy victors against very good and sporting opponents.