Hammond’s heroics fail to stop Colburn beating Leyburn in Medals Shield final

2019 Medal Shield winners Colburn Town.

The game to decide the first silverware of the season kicked off on a fine evening at Northallerton Town’s ground in front of a lively crowd.

Colburn were on the front foot from the word go and Tom Sweeney set up strike partner, Luke McCormack, with an early chance, but he couldn’t get any power on his shot, and Jack Hammond in Leyburn’s goal made a comfortable save.

Hammond spent most of the game frustrating Colburn’s strikers with a series of fine saves.

Harry Jaques, at the other end, enjoyed a largely trouble-free night.

After ten minutes, Dan Gardner had a shot which flew just over Hammond’s goal, then McCormack brought a good save from Hammond, while Sweeney sent an effort wide.

A rare Leyburn attack ended with a header which went wide. There was then a quiet period while the teams tested and probed each other, then Colburn sprang forward again.

A cross was sent in from the left but Sweeney just failed to reach it. Then came the pivotal moment of the game. Just after the half hour, Sweeney received the ball down the right – he got to the touchline and squared it across the goal for McCormack to slot home. 1-0. Leyburn responded with another foray, but the shot went wide.

Then, at the other end, Callum Sheridan, filling an unfamiliar full-back role, surged forward and fired wide. The other Colburn full-back, Gary Hutchinson, then had his turn, as he slalomed his way through several tackles, but could not keep his shot down.

As half time approached, Leyburn put together a spell of pressur, as Colburn rather sat back, but the best they could produce was an effort that was wild and high.

Leyburn came out after the interval with renewed resolve, and sent one shot just over Colburn’s goal.

But Colburn gradually took command. A fine Sweeney header was tipped over by Hammond, then Hutchinson went on another marauding run down the right, setting McCormack up for a shot which flew across the goal.

Colburn were forced into a change at this point, when Hutchinson pulled up after catching his foot in the ground.

Manager Hammy Hamilton had a strong bench to choose from, and sent Rory Wallace on. Ashley McInerney went to right-back and Wallace filled his role in midfield.

Five minutes later and it was a tactical switch that was made, when a tiring Shane Parkinson, who had worked his socks off for little reward, was replaced by fresh legs in the shape of Joe Woodall.

Sweeney now had a shot from the left which smacked against the goal-stanchion, before a Leyburn ball forward was met by an onrushing Jaques, who very nearly came second in that particular race, but his blushes were spared.

Woodall now made a fine run down the right and played in Sweeney, but his shot was, once again, blocked by Hammond.

Then Craig Teasdale made progress down the left, setting up McCormack, but his effort was turned away by Hammond.

From another Woodall cross, McCormack headed wide, then Gardner produced a blockbuster which struck the crossbar, then cannoned off a post to safety. Colburn were looking comfortable in this final phase of the match, whilst remaining aware, that a Leyburn equaliser would bring extra-time.

The final five minutes brought a surge from Leyburn, but it was too little too late and the victory went to Colburn.

Unsurprisingly, the match officials voted Jack Hammond man of the match, a choice which nobody on the pitch or in the crowd could possibly argue with.

Colburn went off with the trophy and on to another cup game on Saturday, versus Spennithorne in the Dales Cup, while Leyburn can enjoy a weekend off before they seek some degree of revenge when they meet Colburn in the league at the end of March.