Heddon booked their place in the Divisional Cup Final with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Halthwistle Railway. In a match which very much mirrored the previous clash between the two sides, Heddon’s class prevailed after a hard-fought first period.
Heddon were able to call upon a strong squad for the tie, however the defensive absences of Connor Ballantyne and Alex Burnie, led to Dan Ramshaw deputising at centre half alongside Scoob.
Both teams were eager to assert their authority in the first half – Haltwhistle causing problems through their direct tactics and willingness to chase down every ball. Heddon gradually grew into the game, Murtagh in particular causing the Halthwistle defence problems down the left. Growing Heddon pressure led to the first goal, Hownam’s cross met by Dan Walker who headed in from close range. Walker almost added to his tally soon after, Ross’ pull back falling to his feet where he “turned like a doner kebab” (Richardson, 2016) before sidefooting against the upright. Down the other end, the Haltwhistle number 9 could easily have had two himself, firstly denied well by Bull, and chipping wide on the second occasion after being picked out by a lovely weighted through ball from Appaz! There was still time for Ross to come close to heading in twice from corners. However, at half time the score was only 1-0.
Heddon started the second half well, getting the ball on the ground and causing Haltwhistle to chase shadows. The renewed vigour and quality of play was rewarded 5 minutes in, Walker’s dangerous cross deftly glanced in by Hownam to make it 2-0. A third goal followed quickly, in an event on par in its rarity as sightings of Halley’s comet are, Dan Ramshaw scored! Ramshaw’s free kick was pumped long from just inside the Halthwistle half, the high hanging ball was completely misjudged by the goalkeeper who got a hand to it but couldn’t prevent it from dropping into the net. Three became four, with arguably the best finish of the day - Murtagh’s strong run into the box was blocked off by the defender who rifled the ball into the top corner of his own net! The four goal lead gave the opportunity for Greeny to make the most of his substitutes, with all five getting a run out, and all of them making an impact on the game. The fifth goal was the icing on the cake, an excellent lobbed ball from Woody found Frankie, who crossed well from the byline with the onrushing Richy Harrison making no mistake from close range. Man of the match, Ciaran Porter, who had another stormer at full back, was unlucky to see his powerful free kick strike the bar and come back out just before the final whistle. Full time, 5-0.
Overall, an excellent second half performance, and it is no false statement or chiche to say that all 16 players put a shift in today. Ryton await in the final to be played at the end of this month. In the meantime it is back to league action, with two more wins required for the title. Hopefully this time next Sunday we will be celebrating the first trophy out of a potential treble.