This week saw the League visit Dulwich Road, home of Holland FC to host the 2021-2022 Ernie Osborne Challenge Cup Final, being contested by CO4 Ultras Reserves, who were looking to make it two trophies in a week and Old Saints United.
The sun was shining as proceedings got underway, with both teams seemingly looking for a fast start, however it was Old Saints United who started the fastest, as in the third minute a long ball was played forward and misjudged by Ryan Brown in the CO4 Ultras Reserves backline allowing Bruce Poole to nip in and meet the ball lifting it over the onrushing keeper into an empty net.
CO4 Ultras Reserves 0-1 Old Saints United.
Old Saints United remained in the ascendency having taken the lead, providing most of the attacking threat in the first fifteen minutes, with the outlet of balls into the attacking areas for Bruce Poole and Daniel Rampton proving a threat however they were unable to capitalise further and in the twenty-third minute were punished for that as a ball was played into the box by CO4 Ultras Reserves and was judged well by Terrence Kelly who lifted the ball over the keeper with a tidy finish to level things up.
CO4 Ultras Reserves 1-1 Old Saints United.
The goal gave CO4 Ultras Reserves the confidence to continue pressing and create in the Old Saints United half, as they started to get at the defence and in the twenty-sixth minute, Karl Brooks’ neat footwork saw a challenge from Jay Matthams result in the first card of the game as he was shown a yellow card and a free kick awarded to CO4 Ultras Reserves. The free kick however was overhit and evaded the waiting players in the box.
Not to be deterred though CO4 Ultras Reserves continued to press and draw fouls in dangerous areas from the Old Saints United defence and in the thirty-sixth minute, a foul as Brandon Leslie pressed down the left wing gave a good opportunity for a dangerous ball to be delivered in to the box. Dangerous indeed it was as a quality delivery was played in the box and met by the head of Dean West with a bullet header to take the lead.
CO4 Ultras Reserves 2-1 Old Saints United.
Old Saints United had to re-group and regain a foothold in the game as they started to move the ball and bring their attacking players back into thick of things. In the forty-first minute it looked as though that would pay dividends as a through ball was played from the centre circle for Bruce Poole to chase, however as he found himself one on one and took the shot, ‘keeper Radoslaw Wilk was quick off his line to make a remarkable stop!
As Old Saints United continued to press they started to pen CO4 Ultras Reserves back in their own half and draw fouls, with one foul in the forty-third minute resulting in the second yellow card of the game for Louie Duffett. An opportunity for Old Saints United to deliver a ball in the box from the mid-way point of the half, but as with CO4 Ultras Reserves attempt earlier in the game, the free kick amounted to nothing as they were unable to capitalise.
With the half coming to a close, Daniel Rampton found himself with some space to move into down the left wing and after beating two players he was able to deliver a ball into the box which the onrushing Jack Szmodics dummied for the ball to run to the far side of the box to Bruce Poole, who finished calmly into the bottom corner to level proceedings on the stroke of half time.
Half Time: CO4 Ultras Reserves 2-2 Old Saints United
The second half started in much the same vein as the first, with Old Saints United coming out of the blocks quicker and with just two minutes played, a well spotted through ball by Dom Mosses played in Bruce Poole who despite seeing his first attempt saved by ‘keeper Radoslaw Wilk, was able to finish at the second attempt to make it CO4 Ultras Reserves 2-3 Old Saints United and complete a 47-minute hat-trick!
Old Saints United had given themselves the lead to defend but continued to look a threat on the break, without creating any clear-cut chances, whilst CO4 Ultras Reserves continued to work hard to find a way back into the game, but similarly found themselves unable to create anything of note in the final third.
CO4 Ultras Reserves best chance of the second half came in thesixty-ninth minute as a ball into the box found Dean West who saw his shot blocked and the loose ball fell to Jordan Hyams who found the side-netting as he tried to divert the ball into the net.
That was to prove costly in the seventy-first minute as Old Saints United again found room down the left wing, this time with Scott Birkett stepping up the pitch with the ball and after it appeared he had lost possession, he was able to regain it just as quick and lifted the ball to the back post where it was that man again, Bruce Poole, who met the ball to convert.
CO4 Ultras Reserves 2-4 Old Saints United
CO4 Ultras Reserves were struggling to defend against the attacking threats being presented as Old Saints United made use of the fresh legs from their bench to continue putting pressure on their backline, which was also resulting in a number of free-kicks being awarded, with efforts from both Bruce Poole and Daniel Rampton going unpunished.
However in the seventy-third minute a free kick in a central position, around twnty-five yards from goal was set up by Bruce Poole who connected well and saw the ball bounce off of the crossbar, but a well timed run by Joshua Poole saw him meet the loose ball and head in to make it five.
CO4 Ultras Reserves 2-5 Old Saints United.
Despite the scoreline proving an uphill battle for CO4 Ultras Reserves, to their credit they tried to recover and get the ball forwards and looked to create opportunities, however the Old Saints United backline remained resolute and were giving nothing away.
Unfortunately in the eighty-fifth minute following a foul being committed, there were some unsavoury scenes as a coming together amongst both teams resulted in a red card being shown to CO4’s Joshua Oliver and their Dean West being sent to the Sin Bin, which provided an unfortunate dampener on what had otherwise been a well contested game.
Both sides played out the remainder of the game to it’s conclusion with with a final blast of the referee’s whistle, Old Saints United were crowned Champions of the Ernie Osborne Challenge Cup!
The game was a great game to watch for a neutral, with two good teams battling and some well taken goals, but on the day Old Saints United were the better team and their win was fully deserved!
Full Time: CO4 Ultras Reserves 2-5 Old Saints United
CO4 Ultras Res : Radoslaw Wilk, Louie Duffett, Karl Brooks, Jamie Duffett, Joshua Oliver, Brandon Leslie, Dean West, Jordan Hyams, Joe Steel, Terrence Kelly, Ryan Brown. Subs. Josh Faulkner, Bradley Measor, Rob Brooks, Samuel Ajayi, Ben Lawton
Old Saints Utd : Elliot Ringe, Jon Banes, Scott Birkett, Dom Mosses, Jay Matthams, Daniel Rampton, Luke Craig, Jack Szmodics, Bruce Poole, Jakob Kelly, Matthew Runyard. Subs. Josh Poole, Matt Scott, Jack O’Connell, Daniel Steadman, Ryan Christian
Match report and photos courtesy of League Sec. Aaron Finch.