THIS Widnes Cup Final was billed as the best of all finals with the two teams finishing very close to each other in the league with Avon winning the Warrington & District Premier Division Title and Halebank finishing third.
In the 11th minute Avon’s Michael Burns crossed low and hard for winger Jeff Gleave to fire home from close range beating keeper Elliot Cunningham and the defence. On the 42nd minute an Avon corner was fired in by Burns from the right a melee of players in the Halebank six yard box rose to meet the ball, one of the defenders raised his arm to get further purchase in height to meet the ball, but his hand met the ball and referee signalled for a penalty kick.
Burns shot was fired into the left of the goal but Halebank keeper Elliot Cunningham palmed the ball away for a defender to clear downfield.
A Halebank free kick on the stroke of half time saw Nick Ellis step up and fire the ball into the Avon area – the ball was cleared towards the half way line.
The bounce eluded a number of players until one tall defender raised his foot to clear the ball – his boot was high and caught an Avon player who was stooping to head the ball forward.
A melee followed on from the incident which saw a number of players go into the referee’s book; the game was high on tension and full of adrenalin.
An Avon attack on the 64th minute saw a Halebank clearing defence splitting pass from defender Daniel Brotherstone which was headed on by Matthew Perry into the feet of Connor Speed who beat two defenders and round the oncoming keeper to fire home into the Avon goal past two following defenders – game on.
As full time approached the game appeared to open up with both teams having chances.
Burns was shown a second yellow which meant Avon were down to ten men for the extra time period.
The match faded away due to tired legs and players resigned to a penalty shoot-out. At full time, after 120 minutes, the scores level at 1-1 Halebank won the toss for penalties and opted to go first and eventually won 4-2 to become the Widnes Cup Champions.
The man of the match awards reflected of how the match was played from end to end.
Halebank’s goalkeeper Elliot Cunningham was the Alan Corn Man of the Match Award.