Widnes cup of joy for Parklands
Avon Athletic 2 Parklands 4 THE 2017 Derek Roylance Widnes Challenge Cup concluded in dramatic fashion last Friday evening when Parklands edged a six-goal feast against Avon Athletic to secure the silverware.
On a lovely night for a football final on a pitch perfect for the game at Widnes’s Select Security Stadium, both sides came into the showdown as jointfavourites.
Avon were forced into a change before the match as defender Ryan Parsonage was forced to stand down due to an injury he sustained in the semi-final against St Michael’s
The match started in lively manner with end-to-end play while some strong tackles were being dished out in midfield.
Avon got the game underway and immediately looked to attack Parklands after controlling the ball from left to right and a sudden break down the right flank caught Parklands by surprise.
The ball enventually found Avon’s Ryan Robinson unmarked on the edge of the Parklands penalty box, but his shot was stabbed into the ground and Parklands keeper Adam Jackson had a easy save.
Parklands made the first breakthrough with just eight minutes on the watch when an excellently-worked move ended when Anthony Rawlinson tapped the ball into a gaping Avon net.
Avon responded well and within five minutes levelled the score.
A set-piece taken by Michael Burns was launched into the box and was headed towards the back post by Avon’s Aaron McGarvey. The ball was met by the head of Anthony Randall who slotted home past Jackson.
Parklands continued to apply more pressure throughout the remainder of the half, putting good passes together and creating half chances. Full-back John ● Dempsey had the best of those opportunities skipping past three Avon players on a long run only to see his final shot go wide of the mark, so the teams went into the interval with the scoreline still even at 1-1.
Parklands looked to start the second half where they left off the first putting good passes together and within two minutes of the restart they took the lead again when Jay White volleyed Callum Barrow’s cross into the box.
Barrow had made an excellent run through the right channel before cutting the ball back into the path of White, who swivelled and volleyed past the stranded keeper David Nevitt.
Parklands then had the ball in the net again in the 49th minute when a White effort from the edge of the Avon box took a deflection off Barrow who had run into an offside position. The assistant official raised his flag and ruled it as offside.
Parklands had their tails up now and increased the tempo of the game.
Craig Wilkerson who had just been introduced to the fray along with Dempsey and Charlie Burdekin all linked up for Parklands’ third goal with right-back Dempsey claiming the goal with a thunderbolt of a shot.
Avon started to dig deep and respond in the latter stages when Burns saw his free-kick smash against the top of the crossbar on the 80th minute. This spurred the side on and they began to take control.
Avon brought it back to 3-2 in the 83rd minute. After yet another free-kick to Avon, taken by Burns, the ball was glanced to the back post by Jay Yates and finally put over the line by substitute Ste O’Grady.
Avon were now pushing for a late equaliser and with six minutes of stoppage time announced there was still enough time to level things up.
But Parklands settled down and kept the ball well.
With only two minutes remaining on the clock, Burdekin brought the ball down from a throw-in and started a run towards goal.
After beating a couple of Avon players on his mazy run he then chipped the ball over Nevitt to make the game, and cup, safe for his team.
A special mention must go to the four officials from the Widnes Referees Society who handled the match superbly – Alec Walker, Paul Stevenson, Craig Doyle and Allen Dunbar.
Parklands FC players and management celebrate winning the Derek Roylance Widnes Challenge Cup with a 4-2 triumph over Avon Athletic at the Select Security Stadium last Friday evening.