Upwell fight back twice for cup glory
UPWELL TOWN 3, WATLINGTON SSC 2
Upwell Town twice came from behind to overcome Watlington Sports & Social Club in the 4Work Primary Cup final on Saturday.
Goals from Michael Chow, Joe Whyborn and Sam Cubberly were enough to seal the victory despite Town going down to ten men in the second half.
After a frantic start to the game, the first chance came early on when Ben Fenn was brought down by Upwell’s Michael Chow. Watlington’s Dan Harpley shot the free kick at the wall and Joe Causton was able to latch on to the ricochet, hitting a fierce shot goalward, which Dean Jimson in the Upwell goal had to punch clear.
Up the other end, Upwell’s Jamie Leet sliced a volley wide from a corner, and seconds later, Jamie Cobbin headed wide from Jesse Hemmings’ pinpoint cross.
Jimson had to punch clear again when on the counter, play resulted in Harpley swivelling to lose his marker on the edge of the box. The wide forward’s shot was too hot to handle, but too central to find the back of the net.
With the game very much end to end, Leet then played in Town’s Sam Cubberly with a neat pass. His shot was saved by the legs of James Dougal in the Watlington goal, and Joe Whyborn would have smashed the rebound home had it not been for brilliant defending.
Dougal was called into action moments later when a long-range strike from Chow was headed on by Cubberly and the Watlington stopper had to have quick reactions to punch over the bar.
After getting through a sustained period of pressure from Upwell, Watlington thought they had taken the lead when Jimson missed his punch from a dangerous free kick. The ball flew across the area and missed at least three players before Harpley bundled the ball over the line from three yards out, only to see the assistant’s flag raised.
Watlington, with the momentum, were trying to utilise the dangerous Harpley whenever possible with the Town defence struggling to deal with him.
In the 34th minute, Lewis Hewitt delivered a dangerous corner which Jimson could only punch back to him. He set up Ben Fenn on the edge of the box and the number 10 delivered a curling strike that nestled into the bottom left corner to give Watlington the lead.
Against the run of play, Upwell equalised after a break down the left saw the ball played into Chow on the edge of the area, and he drilled a low strike that went in off the left post.
But it was 2-1 to Watlington just before the break, Hewitt making a clever run through a crowded box and latching on to a perfect through ball to poke past the keeper first time from close range.
Seconds later, Cubberly forced a great save from Dougal and Upwell went in at the break 2-1 down.
Watlington started the second half on the front foot and almost extended their lead when a combination of a Harpley free kick and Fenn cross resulted in Hewitt hitting the side netting.
Town were on the back foot as Watlington looked for a third goal. However, after getting through the first 15 minutes of pressure, Upwell got the equaliser against the run of play when Whyborn was played through after making a good run.
While being chased down and crowded out by multiple defenders, he managed a shot that slotted past Dougal and into the bottom left corner to put the teams on level terms on the hour mark.
Soon after making it 2-2, Upwell’s Chow was given a straight red for after a clash with Watlington captain Harry Morton.
Watlington sensed the advantage both numerically and psychologically and began to exert more and more pressure on the Upwell goal.
Harpley and Will Harris both had good chances, with the latter also having a goal disallowed for offside.
But, having soaked up relentless pressure, Upwell found the net against the run of play. A good free kick was delivered into a dangerous area and Cubberly was on hand to toe poke it home first time, putting the ten men 3-2 up with just six minutes to play.
As the fourth official announced three minutes of stoppage time, Watlington threw everything at Town’s ten men.
Causton almost snatched a goal at the death with a cannon shot that Jimson couldn’t hold flying just the wrong side of the post.
The resulting corner saw Dougal enter the opposition’s box and despite getting on the end of the set piece, he could only blaze his effort over for a goal kick at which point the referee blew the final whistle.
Upwell Town: Dean Jimson, Dom Pintille, Jesse Hemmings, Jason Bradshaw, Michael Chow, Jamie Cobbin, Billy Fowler, Jamie Leet, Sam Cubberly, Ricky Mason, Joe Whyborn. Subs: Charlie Tyman, Justin Uddin, Paul Richardson, Lee Chapman.
Player of the Match: Joe Whyborn