Bright blue skies, a slight breeze and two teams up for the cup made for ideal settings ahead of kick off for this Saturday Amateur Cup final, alongside the ever-excellent playing surface at Ray Hall Lane.
Team Line Ups
Halesowen Town U21: 1 Whitehouse, 2 Edwards, 3 Gilles, 4 Brookes, 5 Kourouyianni, 6 Simms, 7 Morris ©, 8 Fletcher, 9 Funge, 10 Dudley-Toole, 11 Snape. Subs: Palmer, Guest, Preddy, Guerra, Homer
Silhill U21: 1 Bashford, 2 Fackrell, 3 Corkery, 4 Rainey, 5 J Davis, 6 Daniels, 7 Grosvenor, 8 Lakhanpaul, 9 Summers ©, 10 Merriman, 11 Averill. Subs: Blake, Corfield, Williams, F.Davis, Evans
Halesowen Town got us underway in their all-blue strip and it only took 5 minutes for the first piece of action in this game which came in the form of shouts for a penalty. Funge found some space in the box and as he was about to get his shot off, the defender came very close to tripping him, but referee Lewis Smith saw nothing in it and waved play on.
The first chances came soon after with Dudley-Toole getting his head to a cross from the right but there wasn’t enough power on it to trouble Bashford in goal, before Edwards found himself on the end of a through-ball which he can’t quite get under control and again Bashford is there to collect. The next chance was more clear cut in the 14th minute when Brookes broke forward and played Funge in but his cross-shot flies wide after getting a slight deflection. From the corner, Halesowen play the ball well into the box and Dudley-Toole gets his head to another cross which he heads down and as it connected with the Silhill defender, there were some more half-hearted penalty shouts for a handball, again waved away.
In the 17th minute, Silhill managed to get their first glimpse of goal when Grosvenor met Summers cross but his header fell kindly for Whitehouse who gathered the ball. Dudley-Toole then had his best chance yet when he latched onto a forward ball in space, facing the goal his shot is straight at Bashford. The end-to-end action continued with a break down the right for Silhill and Averill’s cross is just too far in front of Grosvenor who eventually gets on the loose ball but his shot is blocked. Another piece of good play down the right for Silhill makes it way to Merriman who sees his shot comfortably saved by Whitehouse.
The game then calmed down and there was time for both teams to settle down and try to take control of the final. The next attempt on goal wasn’t until the 37th minute when Snape found himself in a prime position on the edge of the box with a free kick just to the left but his shot is straight down the throat of Bashford. Up to the other end, it was Silhill’s turn to be in prime position for a free kick and this time Averill stepped up and swung his effort into the top right corner leaving Whitehouse with no chance. Absolute jubilation for the Silhill bench and fans who had continued to be extremely loud with chants of ‘come on you Sils’ being ever-present. A few minutes of scrappy football followed before Smith blew time on the first half.
The opening stages of the second half were much quieter than the first with a few stop start moments, before the first change of the game in the 54th minute which saw Palmer replace Snape for Halesowen. There was a moment of half-celebration for the Yeltz as they had the ball in the net but there was adjudged to be a foul in the build up so play was brought back for a foul in the Silhill box. Silhill then made their first change after Corkery had picked up a knock and he was replaced by Corfield in the 59th minute.
Halesowen kick start the second half in the 60th minute as Funge found himself through on goal and tried to slide the ball past Bashford who was equal to it and the ball bounced away from danger. A quick fire corner followed as Gilles floated one in which evaded everyone and hit the far post, bouncing to a Silhill player who smashed the ball away. The ball kept coming back and Halesowen found themselves on the end of another penalty shout as Dudley-Toole fell in the box with a Silhill defender but the claims were once again ignored by Smith.
A few short minutes later, Dudley-Toole found himself in the officials book after a foul on Lakhanpaul which resulted in him being unable to continue and he was replaced by Williams. In the 72nd minute, with Halesowen chasing an equaliser, Funge had a go from outside of the box which bounced at the wrong time and his effort flew over the crossbar. However, it wasn’t long before they had their goal and after Palmer saw his shot blocked, it deflected into the path of Funge who was at the back post to slot the ball home and level the score. It didn’t stop there either as they found themselves with a free kick about 40 yards out which Morris swung into the box. Dudley-Toole got his head to the first ball and knocked it back across goal where Brookes was perfectly placed to nod the ball into the net. The Excellence Arena erupted with patches of blue cheering ecstatically to celebrate the Yeltz turning the tie around.
There was then two quickfire substitutions for Silhill as they now chased the equaliser which saw J Davis and Grosvenor replaced by Blake and F Davis respectively with just 10 minutes to go. The game calmed down here as Halesowen began to take their time with every ball and Silhill managed to muster just one last opportunity in the 90th minute when the ball fell to Daniels on the edge of the box but his left footed strike was just inches too high and flew over the bar. In a quest to run the clock down, Halesowen then made a change with Guest coming on for Funge, before Summers was booked for Silhill in the 93rd minute. There was to be no more time for action as Lewis Smith blew the full time whistle and Halesowen Town U21 were crowned champions at the first time of asking in the Saturday Amateur Cup.
Scott Mason, manager of Halesowen Town U21, was full of praise for his team saying “it’s the first time we’ve been in this and got to the final, so to win it on the first occasion is superb, and the lads have done fantastic”. Reflecting on the game, Scott also said he thought it was “an even game that was scrappy at times” but his team came out on top as they were “lucky enough to have a couple of chances in the second half and managed to put them away”.
The two clubs had nominated their individual worthy of the Club Volunteer award and Phil Haynes and Matt Hawley picked these up for Silhill and Halesowen Town respectively.
The man of the match award was handed to Halesowen’s Dexter Dudley-Toole after a great afternoon causing endless amounts of trouble for the Silhill defence.
You can view the official photographs taken by Focus Dunn Sports Photography by clicking here.
Extended highlights of the Cup Final can be watched below: