CSKA Emneth lift the Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup
Goalkeeper Luke Pearson was the hero as CSKA Emneth won the Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory over Acle Rangers at the FDC ground in Norwich last night (Thursday).
After an injury time equaliser from Rangers forced spot kicks, the Wisbech Town stopper scored a penalty and then saved Acle's fifth attempt to take the trophy back to Emneth.
Emneth had led 1-0 and 2-1 through Jake Miller and Ben Jimson but their opponents deservedly twice equalised after creating the better of the chances.
Emneth took the lead with less than a minute on the clock, Miller scoring with a sweetly hit volley into the top corner from 20 yards out.
Acle came close to equalising moments later when Tom Cullumbine had a shot blocked by multiple CSKA defenders and Sam Ellis could only blast the rebound high above the bar.
In the 17th minute Acle had their best chance when Cullumbine rounded Luke Pearson after a well-weighted through ball but his low shot from a tight angle was blocked thanks to some brilliant last ditch defending.
Long throw-ins from Wiley in the 32nd and 33rd minutes caused problems for the Emneth defence with Acle’s Perry Kelf firing just to the left of Pearson’s goal. Kelf had another chance from a similar distance five minutes later that ended with the same result, this time just going wide of the right post.
On the stroke of half-time, the CSKA Emneth high line was undone when Callum Alpin beat the offside trap and squared the ball to Cullumbine for an easy tap-in from three yards out. The teams headed into the break all square.
Rangers started the second half as they finished the first, on the front foot. More chances fell their way, but they were unable to convert any with Cullumbine having a header blocked on the line.
Against the run of play, CSKA Emneth regained the lead when Ben Jimson directed a very powerful header into the back of the net from a whipped free-kick on the right hand side from Danny Setchell.
On the hour mark, Pearson maintained CSKA’s slender lead with a brilliant double save. First from Alpin on the right and then from Ashley Baxter on the rebound as he was just able to tip the ball over the bar at full stretch.
With less than 15 minutes to go, some fancy footwork from Alpin left defenders on the floor in the Emneth box and he flashed the ball across the face of goal only to be headed clear by Jake Ogden.
Into the second minute of the seven added on, Acle equalised through Tom Cullumbine as he smashed home from close distance at the far post after a good ball across the face of goal.
With the scores level, the match headed to penalty kicks where the hero was the CSKA keeper Pearson, who not only scored from the spot but saved the fifth Acle Rangers penalty to win his side the cup 4-3 on spot kicks.
CSKA Emneth: Luke Pearson, Dale Palmer, Jake Ogden, Ryan Dennis, Joel Matthews, Oliver Williams, Ben Jimson, Danny Setchell, Jake Miller, Joe Reed, Toby Allen. Subs: Callum Elsey, Aaron McKenna, Kieron Hamilton, Alex Forth.
Player of the Match: Luke Pearson