Co-op Sports lift Watson Shield in eight goal thriller

Co-op Sports lifted this season’s Watson Shield with a pulsating 5-3 victory over Royal Oak Kempston.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 17th May 2011, 2:33 pm

Before a near three figure crowd at Biggleswade United on Thursday evening, the game’s opening chance was to fall 10 minutes into the contest when Co-op’s Ashley Jordan broke free. Looking up he saw Oak goalkeeper Jack Cunningham rushing off his line and rather than go for glory he unselfishly squared the ball into the path of team-mate James McMulkin who stood in front of an empty net, alas McMulkin pushed the ball off target.

Within three minutes The Oak had taken the lead.A Chris Birdsall effort was cleared off the line by Scott Davis, but with the clearance not clearing the penalty box,Chris Vardy floored Gareth Arzu to see referee Tony Guiry pointing to the penalty spot. Up stepped Sean Boland to shoot his side 1-0 ahead.

However, the game was to turn on its head ten minutes later with two Co-op Sports goals within 90 seconds. First a Davis free kick was to be dropped by Oak goalkeeper Cunningham onto the boot of Jordan, who said thank you very much for 1-1 then after a Rowan Markland shot had deflected off the Oak wall to McMulkin he made up for his earlier miss with a cool finish to place his side 2-1 ahead.

The Oak were soon hitting back, Co-op goalkeeper Gareth Fear needing his legs to keep out an effort from Oak’s own Jordan Lorenzo, before the Oak number nine drew the contest level ten minutes from the break.Andrew Palombella supplying the perfect ball into his path some 20 yards out from goal which saw him unleash an unstoppable shot past Fear for 2-2.

When the teams emerged for the second period, refreee Guiry was now the fourth official due to a groin injury and Chris Barton the man in the middle. Barton’s first decision saw him award a penalty against Oak’s Darren Minney for handball, his night being saved when Andrew Ayres pushed the spot kick well wide of Cunningham’s upright’s.

Yet by the hour mark, The Shield was as good as won with The Co-op racing into a 4-2 lead. McMulkin from the edge of the box on 50 minutes sent in a sweet finish for 3-2 and then after Cunningham had denied him his hat-trick with a save on his near post, Vardy with an individual effort took the scoreline up to 4-2.

The Co-op were now on fire, McMulkin racing from his own half to set up Jordan which required another fine stop from Cunningham, then Jordan right in front of goal completely mis-kicked the chance to bring up the nap hand.

Their supporters’ wait for the fifth goal was however just 60 seconds away, Cunningham beating a Jordan effort out to the edge of the box where Vardy stood to ping back and take his side three goals clear at 5-2.

The Oak’s response was not to lie down but to attack, if only Fear had not kept out efforts from substitute Dean Boland with his first touch of the ball followed by another Jordan effort.

When Co-op’s Lee Murton conceded a penalty two minutes from time for a foul on Palombella, the resulting penalty converted by Sean Boland might well have been for five all and extra time rather than 5-3.

Co-op Sports; Gareth Fear, Andrew Ayres, Robert Cusack, Scott Davis, Rowan Markland, Thomas Miller, Paul Power, Chris Vardy, Thomas Furr, Ashley Jordan, James McMulkin, Subs Used; Dave Mycroft, Kelly Smith and Lee Murton.

Royal Oak Kempston ; Jack Cunningham, Gareth Arzu, Chris Birdsall, Michael Cooney, Lorenzo Jordan, Dave Minney, Andrew Palombella, Lloyd Turner, David Bevan, Sean Boland, Subs Used; Dean Boland, Andy Cunningham and Daniel Detchin-Freeth.