Richmond Mavericks win season opener

Photo: James Coverdale/Flickr

The Challenge Cup Final, between Richmond Mavericks and Colburn Town, took place on a bright day at Carperby.

Neither side was at full strength, and early exchanges were fairly even. Mavs started with four new signings after a successful transfer window saw Dale, French, Bishop and McCormack brought into the squad.

Reuben Bainbridge thought he had scored for the league winners when he followed up the keeper’s save with a tap in but it was given offside

A good strike by Tom Sweeney was well saved by Danny Dale, who has returned to Mavs after a spell at Unicorn. Unfortunately due to the burst of pace caused an injury to his calf which was the beginning of the end for him

Then after 13 minutes a free-kick was awarded well outside the area. Up stepped Sam Bainbridge – njo longer needing his hairband –  to send his shot past Colburn’s wall and beyond Aaron Stoney’s reach. 1-0 and first blood to Mavs.

Three minutes later things appeared to be going from bad to worse for Colburn, when Ashley McInerney’s clumsy challenge was penalised with the award of a penalty to Mavs.

Sam Brainbridge full of confidence put the ball on the spot, but scuffed it into the ground for the keeper to save. Shortly afterwards a Mavs header came back off the bar, and Stoney made several good saves to keep Mavs at bay including one from new signing Luke McCormack.

Dale was also called into action to deny Colburn. To make one save Dale came off his line again like a greyhound. The save was followed up with a last ditch tackle from Johnson but this was to be the end of the game for Dale due to injury, meaning Matty Bromirskyj was back in the nets despite a promise he would never have to do the job again.

Then came eight minutes of sustained pressure from Mavs before half time which ultimately won them the game. After 36 minutes Mavs doubled their lead when Luke McCormack converted a cross from the left from Adam Emson.

On 42 minutes, possession was too easily conceded and McCormack grabbed his 2nd. A minute later, Emson evaded Luke Hamilton on the left and crossed for McCormack to finish, and three minutes later Bastow wo nthe ball in the Mavs half, played it to Sam Bainbridge who with a cheeky nutmeg in centre mid put in Emson. He squared it to McCormack for his 4th.

Colburn trudged off at half time with heads down and expecting a tirade from manager Darren Nisbet but the message was just to go and win the second half.

Sweeney thought he had pulled one back straight after the resumption, only to be given offside.

Colburn made two substitutions – Tom Bentley & new signing Gary Hutchison coming on for Rory Wallace and Teasdale.

Bentley had a golden chance to make his mark immediately but scuffed his shot straight to the keeper.

Then on 63 minutes, the fightback began, when Sweeney sent a ball over the Mavs defence for Stuart Murray to lift over the keeper.

Another effort from Sweeney was foiled by Bromirskyj, then McInerney was booked for a poor challenge.

After 69 minutes, the game was most definitely on when Murray returned the favour, crossing the ball for Sweeney to knock it home.

Colburn continued to press, and on 84 mins, reduced the deficit even further; Joe Woodall was felled, but the referee played advantage and the ball ran to Sweeney who rifled a fine shot across the keeper.

However, any hopes of a memorable comeback was ended by the ref blowing the full time whistle. Final score 5-3 and the Challenge Cup went to Mavs – a game decided by ten mad minutes before the interval.