It’s been all about the cups this week.
Richmond Mavericks beat Catterick Garrison 3-2 on Thursday in the final of the Medals Shield to move closer to a treble – has that done be done before anyone?
But Catterick will feel it could have been them lifting the trophy had luck been on their side.
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The first real chance went to Mavs’ Emson who on eight minutes capitalised on a defensive error, but hit a left foot shot over the bar with only keeper to beat.
Emson then fired against Bishop’s legs.
At the other end Luke McCormack was sent through on the keeper Reed who managed to gather at the second attempt after saving with his legs.
Tim Holland also had a shot blocked.
Catterick were enjoying lots of possession in the midfield and were a threat through down their right with the rapid feet of Dan Deeney.
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Mavs were still looking a threat on the break through Emson who after 30 minutes was put through on goal again and again hit his shot over the bar.
Catterick were getting increasingly frustrated that the referee did not play the advantage when they felt they were through on the Mavs defence.
Further chances went by with Tim Bishop saving smartly at his near post for CGFC. There was also a great block from Gavin Rudd on Emson.
Mavs keeper Reed was at full stretch to keep out a Jonny Holmes free-kick from 20 yards that looked destined for the top corner.
On 40 minutes a Sam Bainbridge free kick was flicked on by Lovell for Emson who blasted wide.
Then just before half time, a Sam Bainbridge corner fell to Lovell who hit a rocket with his left foot for Mavs to take the lead.
The corner came after a freekick on halfway that Catterick felt should have gone their way.
Catterick continued to have good possession at the start of the second half, particularly in the midfield, but the Mavs back line lead by captain Dan Johnson were resolute, apart from being stretched occasionally by the ever willing McCormack.
But five minutes after the break Mavs got a second when Emson worked a bit of space with a jinking run that sent him past Callum McCormack and his cross went straight in.
Catterick were now incensed by the lack of good fortune and what they thought was inconsistent refereeing, and were up the other end for a succession of corners.
Deeney’s in-swinger was met by captain James Boyle. The ball bounced loose in the six yard box and despite being grounded, Boyle used his crab-like footballing skills to still beat a defender and the keeper to the loose ball and poke it home.
This sparked a 20-minute spell of CGFC pressure. It took only a further five minutes to get Catterick level though with the goal of the game.
Gavin Rudd won the ball on half way and played a 1-2 to progress from the back.
He then gave it to Liam Walker, who played it into Holmes’ feet. He found Holland and another 1-2 ended with Holland slipping Walker the ball on the edge.
Walker’s third man run meant he beat his man to the ball and his shot flew in off the far post to make it 2-2.
Catterick claimed a Mavs defender had used his arm while stopping to chest the ball but it wasn’t give, much to their frustration.
Minutes later Boyle saw his strike cleared off the line. There were desperate appeals that it went over, but catterick later conceded that the ref got the decision right.
The game looked to be going into extra time and Catterick thought they were the stronger, with some Mavs players cramping up.
However a hopeful kick forward by Reed went towards the excellent Files now on at right back. As he strained desperately he could only help it on to Mavs wide man Owen Kelly, who finished neatly in the corner from 12 yards.
The 87th minute winner was cruel for Catterick, but 3-2 was how it ended with Mavs using their experience to use up the remaining time.
The result was sealed with virtually the last kick of the game when Deeney robbed Mavs left back Dunwoodie inside the box.
Catterick claimed Dunwoodie stopped Deeney unfairly from reaching the ball and a penalty should have been given.
But the referee and assistant disagreed and the game ended 3-2.
It the Dales Cup it was quarter final weekend.
Hawes United saw off a talented Unicorn side to set up a juicy Dales Cup semi-final against Mas.
Spectators were hard-pressed to tell that it was a cup match in a first half best described as steady.
Unicorn had perhaps left their legs on the Fossie Bob charabanc, while Hawes had a whiff of cigars and slippers about them.
One of the few men with fire in the belly was Hawes’ midfielder Scott Guy. It can be invidious in a team game to pick out individuals, but he was the difference between the two sides in an opening half hour which saw Hawes go two-up.
He won the ball on the Hawes left, skipped inside and lofted a difficult pass to the back post. Jonathon Champion had just enough time to screw on an extension to his already lengthy right shank. With one mighty stretch he was able to knock in the equivalent of a red over the pocket.
Guy continued to make the running. Unicorn players took to scything him down and eventually found themselves in the book. The Richmond team began to take their frustrations out on the referee, accusing Michael McPherson of cheating. McPherson’s brows furrowed under his blonde mop, but he mercifully took no action against the ultimate insult.
Hawes went two-nil up through an individual effort from Tommy Calvert. The ball was cleared up field to the left-winger, who dribbled at speed past his man, and cut inside another in the box, before smashing it in with his right foot.
Unicorn got one back after a corner was nodded across the goal and scrambled in on the line. Hawes hit the bar through Jordan Iveson but there were few more chances in the rest of the half.
Hawes might have been two-one up, but gaffa Matt Dinsdale, short of a wet fish to slap his men round the chops, had to eff and blind to get his side going.
As in previous weeks, Hawes responded well, while Unicorn began to show their quality. The tie came alive. The game stretched out. Unicorn hogged the ball, carving out several shots on goal. When a man wriggled through to the six yard box, he looked odds-on to cross it for a tap in, but in flew Daniel Peacock to block the ball.
Hawes thought they’d seen off the threat when Jordan Iveson stuck the third, getting off a shot quick sharp in the box. But Unicorn pegged one back within moments.
It was only when motor enthusiast Sam Iveson exploded down the right side, picking up a pass from Champion on the overlap and driving in to score, did Hawes finally settle it.
Next week it’ll be a rematch on Unicorn’s home turf at Catterick Village Sports Field. It’s Hawes’ last league fixture.
Colburn’s game versus Academy in the Dales Cup kicked off on a mild March afternoon on a pitch which clearly wasn’t going to help any kind of passing game.
Early exchanges were tentative, but Colburn began to exert more and more pressure and on 17 mins Joe Woodall put a fine cross over to the back post for Shane Parkinson to deftly hook in. 1-0.
Parkinson was a lively presence, clearly unsettling the Academy with his pace.
He had another good effort which only just went wide, but then after 30 mins Colburn struck again.
Once more, Woodall was the architect laying a pass off to Tom Sweeney, who rifled it home to double Colburn’s lead.
Next it was Craig Teasdale’s turn, but as his chance came he completely mishit it. Sweeney then sent a shot over,
Then there was a goalmouth scramble. Woodall couldn’t get his feet sorted and Teasdale knocked it over. The rare attacks from the Academy were being comfortably dealt with by Colburn’s defence, and there was just time before the break for Sweeney to blaze one over.
Three mins after half time, Colburn scored a third. Nige Cole knocked the ball goalwards and Woodall dispatched it. Sweeney shot wide from distance – the league’s top scorer was determined to fill his boots.
Then, after some quality build up play the ball ran to Woodall, who hit it over.
On 65 minutes, Teasdale fed the ball to Sweeney to the left of the goal.
His truly struck shot was heading across into the far corner, when Parkinson popped up to see it over the line.
The goal was clearly Sweeney’s.
At this point Colburn rang the changes, bringing on Liam Jaques and Brandon Bishop for the two Craigs, Nisbet and Teasdale. Sweeney then knocked a free kick from the left touchline over to the back post, where Cole rose to power a header goalwards, only for Mudd in Academy’s goal to tip it over.
After 70 mins, Colburn made their final change, Jamie Dempster replacing Rory Wallace.
Bishop then sent an attempt narrowly wide, before leaping to meet a Timmy Taylor throw in, and heading it home for Colburn’s fifth. The game then ran its course, and the final whistle blew to signal a comfortable win for Colburn.
Mavs proved they have the sort of strength in depth that could realistically take them to a glorious treble as they overcame a Buck team who had hopes that this competition would redeem a stuttering season.
Mavs had a bare 11 players with many carrying injuries from the final two days before.
Andy Coyles took a very bizarre warm up which mainly consisted of the team crawling on the floor.
For the first 60 minutes the Buck resembled their first pre-season game with two and on occasion three teammates going for the same ball demonstrating an inability to communicate with one-another.
When in possession the Buck lads treated the ball like a hot potato, continually panicking and gifting possession back to Mavs, and hurried defending leading to some unnecessary corners conceded from which Mavs are so dangerous.
The pressure told 20 odd minutes in when centre half brute Dan Johnson met an in swinging corner from six yards out, from which a hamstrung-injured Buck keeper Mark Briggs would normally have swatted away.
Buck were struggling with Mavs long balls as Craig Lovell was winning plenty of aerial battles and it was his flick on which put in Owen Kelly, whose finish was three yards wide.
Kelly was again released by the pass of the match by Phil Stirling but Kelly again shot wide of the far post.
Mavs got the second they deserved before half time from another corner when the ball dropped to Lovell at the back post.
His cut inside fell nicely for a determined Robert Atkinson who ran on to it like Forrest Gump and clipped the ball into the top corner from 10 yards out.
The Buck only put up any fight with 30 minutes to go after a triple substitution from assistant manager Luke Pearson finally put them on the front foot.
They began to look a threat from open play and set pieces and but shots from Allen, Hodgkindon, Donaldson and Thorogood lacked either the power of accuracy to beat Mavs keeper Bromirskyj.
Buck eventually got a goal back from one of their stand out players of the season Adam Hodgkinson with 10 minutes to go.
Buck were creating all the chances and the Mavs defence looked edgy, but Mavs held out for a deserved win, especially in the context of them playing a cup final on Thursday and a number of their first team away.
Buck will regroup next season in the hope that they can be more ruthless when they’re on top against the stronger teams in the league.
In the final quarter final, Catterick took on a resurgent Carperby.
Catterick were still sharp and full of running despite cup final agony 42 hours previously, and had a lot frustration to put to bed – whoever they played they were always going to have a tough game on their hands.
Too many chances to mention went by for Catterick before the first goal game midway through the half.
Luke McCormack bent a trademark run in behind. Stephen ‘Flemo’ Fleming found him beautifully and the end result, as it often is with Luke, was a goal.
Catterick’s second was a well-crafted move down the left that ended with Tim Holland’s low cross being converted eight yards out be Damo Hargreaves.
The third was from a set piece corner that ended with Luke’s superb flick being slid home by Fleming, and a one-sided half ended at 3-0.
In the second half Deeney was put through by a stunning pass from Holland. He then carried the ball into the box and finished well when one-on-one.
Catterick’s firth was from the in-form James Boyle. The big man at the back rose highest to head home a Fleming in-swinging corner for his second goal in two days.
Luke started the scoring and finished it too when he was expertly slipped in from the outstanding Dougie Carson. Luke’s well timed run meant he could take it first time and finish across the keeper.
Catterick thought they had another when a counter attack was well finished by Deeney.
The ref gave the goal, before changing his mind on his way back to the centre circle and going on to give a throw in to Catterick in the Catterick half.