Church reserves lose to a last minute Flynn goal

20th May 2023

Hepworth MW 1 PCFC Reserves 0

Both sides had beaten opposition who'd finished higher in the league in their progress to the final.  Notably Church beat Dodworth MW in the ¼ final and progressed to final with a 1-0 win against Handsworth. Hepworth with their collection of players from a higher level beat the now promoted Wombwell Town in the semi final; and having finished 4th with 14 more points than Church came into this final as favourites. 

Scott Briggs' final match in charge of Church reserves started on a beautiful afternoon at Athersley Recreation FC's ground, a gentle breeze occasion ally wafted across the ground. 

Church kicked off and put Hepworth under pressure. Within the first 5 minutes Alfie Broughton beat the keeper to a back pass but the Hepworth defence recovered to stop the attack. 

Hepworth had the first corner of the match after 12 minutes, the low ball in created confusion in the Church defence, but the shot from 10 yards flew high over the bar. 

The sides were evenly matched for the next 15 minutes. Church won their first corner after 20 minutes. However, Hepworth responded well and went close immediately after clearing the corner. 

Church then had 3 corners in quick succession. They could not convert and Hepworth came back up the  other end to shoot high again.

Just before half time Hepworth won a corner and Birch in goal for Church pulled off a great save low to his right. Church cleared the rebound. 

Half time Hepworth 0 PCFC 0

A scrappy restart saw Church on the back foot, but Church then rallied and worked the ball up the pitch with a spell of neat passing. 

After 50 minutes Church had started to find their rhythm and had a short spell of sustained pressure. However in this end to end match both teams pressed high and chances came and went in quick succession. Church had the better of the exchanges and had Hepworth pinned into their half again for another 5 minutes. 

An hour in saw Bradley Kemp free on the far post.  A beautiful swinging cross from the right picked him out. His stooping header from 12 yards flew narrowly wide of the right post.  

Church stayed on the attack and forced a corner and at the second attempt the Hepworth keeper saved well by tipping the ball away from the onrushing Church attack.

After 70 minutes Hepworth brought on Ashley Flynn to bolster their attack. However Church still had the better of the openings and looked strong going forward. 

Jack Roberts replaced Alfie Broughton after 75 minutes. Church continued to ask all the questions.  However as the match progressed there was always the risk that one Hepworth goal would seal the match.

With 5 minutes to go the match was still in the balance and Church gave away a corner from a miskick. They cleared the ball and Hepworth pulled Eddie Newsome down as he sped towards the half way line. Hepworth then defended well.

Goal 90 minutes. A neat ball out of defence saw Church's Callum Lee defending against pace. Hepworth managed to get the ball to Ashley Flynn on the edge of the 6 yard box. He lashed ball high into the roof of the net.

Hepworth 1 PCFC 0

Having dominated long sections of the match Church will rue their missed opportunities. Hepworth  took their one chance with clinical precision. An entertaining match ended in dispair pair for Church and elation for Hepworth. 

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