West Brom Spinney Veterans were crowned 2021/22 Veterans Cup champions following an eight-goal thriller and penalty shootout at the BCFA Excellence Arena.
The weather played its part in creating the ideal Cup Final setting with bright sunshine and a slight chill in the air, paired with a beautiful playing surface at Ray Hall Lane to get everyone geared up to get their hands on some silverware.
Team Line Ups
Coundon Court Old Boys: 1 Flinn, 4 Hayes, 3 Chamberlain, 15 Ward, 5 Lower, 6 Civzellis, 8 Judge, 22 Jephcott, 9 Charley, 11 Harris, 10 Lendon. Subs: Howe, Hatton, Hall, Olanipekun, Elvin
West Brom Spinney Veterans: 1 Bisel, 5 Singh, 22 Lescott, 4 Ridsdill, 2 Gregg, 21 Johnson, 17 Barnfield, 15 Perks, 10 Wood, 20 Russell, 8 Chilton. Subs: Sandhu, Sedgemore, Campbell
The opening exchanges of the tie were fairly quiet with nothing to shout about until the 6th minute when Spinney had their first half-chance after some well worked passes around the Coundon box and the shot from Wood blocked. The tie leapt into life after this when on the 8th minute, Coundon took the lead after Charley got on the end of a long ball forward from Jephcott and smashed his shot past Bisel in the Spinney goal. The next chance would also fall to Charley as he almost doubled his sides lead immediately, again from a ball over the top but this time, his shot hit the outside of the post and went for a goal kick.
The next five minutes were chaotic to say the least as Coundon extended their lead on the 17th minute as Harris pickpocketed the Spinney defence and slotted the ball into the net. Spinney then got a goal back on the 20th minute as Barnfield’s shot was superbly kept out by Flinn, but Chilton pounced on the rebound as he reacted quickest and knocked the ball home. However, Coundon would soon reinstate their two-goal lead as on the 22nd minute, Jephcott was provider again with a ball over the top for Charley to pick up and drive forward before passing it into the far side of the net. To keep up, the score is now 3-1 to Coundon.
There was then a period of quiet after a frantic start as it took a further 9 minutes before the next chance was to come about and that fell to Spinney as they were chasing the scoreline and Wood tried his luck from around 20 yards out but his effort was over the bar. Spinney then had the better of possession and another chance soon fell to them as Russell found Johnson on the edge of the box but his shot as deflected and away from danger. On the 41st minute, the team in pink would then find their second of the game as Perks made a fantastic challenge and the ball broke to Russell who knocked it past Flinn and into an empty net. During the celebrations, Coundon make their first change of the game as Howe came on to replace Ward. There was almost an instant equaliser for Spinney had it not been for two vital blocks by the Coundon defence to deny Chilton the glory. The Referee, Jon Nelson, then called an end to the first half.
The second half started fast paced for Spinney as they chased their equaliser, but it would take until the 62nd minute for them to come close as Russell picked the ball up on the edge of the box and saw his effort whistle just wide of the post. Prior to this, Coundon had made two substitutions with Hatton and Olanipekin on to replace Harris and Chamberlain, before Spinney made their first chance of the game with Sedgemore taking the place of Singh. The latter substitution almost made it a perfect change as within a couple of minutes, the ball fell to Sedgemore on the volley but it went well over and was no trouble for Flinn.
On the 66th minute, Spinney had a shout for a penalty as Chilton was fouled right on the edge of the box so players arms went up, but the assistant referee’s flag was only moved to show a free kick. Chilton dusted himself off and took the free kick, which ended up high and wide. Coundon then made their next change with Hall replacing Lendon, before Spinney had their penalty in the 69th minute when Russell was taken down by Flinn as he knocked the ball past him. Sedgemore stepped up and slotted the ball to the keepers right and wheeled away in celebration after levelling the tie. Coundon almost hit back straight away as a free kick was floated into the box and Charley flicked it goal bound but Bisel was equal to it and put the ball over the bar for a corner which came to nothing.
The next substitution was to see Lendon back on the pitch as he replaced Judge in the 74th minute, coming just after a chance for Coundon but Hatton’s effort was tame and collected by Bisel. Spinney then had their best chance to take the lead in this tie as Johnson had a couple of shots but his first was straight at Flinn and the rebound from 7 yards went well over when all he had to do was hit the target. In the 76th minute, Lendon limped off the pitch and was replaced by Judge after picking up a muscle strain. Two minutes later, Spinney would take the lead for the first time as Chilton got on the end of a ball over the top and squared it across goal to Russell who knocked it past Flinn. Spinney’s Sandhu was then replaced by Wood in the 79th minute. Coundon, now chasing an equaliser, were through on goal in the 83rd minute as Charley found himself one on one with Bisel but his touch was heavy, and the ball was cleared from danger. Hayes then made way for Harris as Coundon continued to find the right players to spur them on the final few minutes. It did just that as a minute later, in the 84th minute, Coundon found the back of the net again as Charley got on the ball and knocked it past Bisel to make for an interesting last 5 minutes.
Now, with penalties in both managers thoughts, Coundon made the first move and chose to opt for Elvin in replace of Civzellis before the latter re-appeared in the 89th minute as Olanipekun made way. Spinney had one last chance to secure the victory as Judge was booked for a foul around 30 yards and Sedgemore took the opportunity to shoot but his effort was well over. With four minutes of stoppage to play, Charley found himself in the Referee’s book as he kicked the ball away. Coundon would have the final open-play chance as Harris crossed the ball to Hall who tried to flick it onto Jephcott but it was blocked and the resulting corner was knocked over by Bisel, before the full-time whistle blew. The 2022 Veterans Cup would be decided by a penalty shootout. Up first were Coundon and Hatton saw his strike hit the bar and bounce out, and as all other penalties were scored, it was down to Chilton to secure the win and that he did as he put the ball beyond Flinn to draw a close to this enthralling morning of football.
The two clubs had nominated their individual worthy of the Club Volunteer award and Roy Slade and Chris Thompson picked it up for Coundon Court Old Boys and West Brom Spinney Veterans respectively.
The man of the match award was handed to West Brom Spinney Veterans number 21, Matt Johnson.
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: