Grant-McLellan Cup Final report
There was a sense of deja-vu on Wednesday night - a second game in three days for Kingstonian's Under 18s at Burnham FC in a cup final of a competition run by the Combined Counties League team against a team in yellow shirts. There were more similarities to Monday's win over Godalming Town but that would unecessarily curtail any suspense...
The Grant-McLellan Cup is named for two former Combined Counties League officers who gave long service to the league in the 1980s and 1990s - Peter Grant and Norman McLellan - and is for clubs in the youth section of the Combined Counties League plus any clubs in the vicinity of the area that the league covers that fancies a go. Ascot United, champions of the Allied Counties Youth League (South), were Kingstonian's opponents and were expected to provide tough opposition.
The first quarter of an hour was a cagey affair, possession shared, devoid of clear chances, but eventually Kingstonian got into their stride. In the 16th minute K's had a series of chances with Iker Noguera Leon being denied by a deflection, a towering header by David Lopes brilliantly saved by the thoroughly excellent Ascot goalkeeper James Docherty and then finally Marco Haigh saw a shot cleared off the line.
In the 27th minute a challenge in midfield allowed Freddie Bailey to produce a fabulous through ball to Rocco Ilhan, who bared down on goal but was preventing from shooting early by the onrushing James Docherty, who did superbly to delay the K's forward enough for the defenders to get back to clear the danger. Three minutes later Rob McGowan's bullet point blank header at the near post from a Noguera Leon corner was fabulously saved by the Ascot number one.
Kingstonian finally took the lead in the 42nd minute when the ball found David Lopes inside the area under severe pressure from Ascot defender Tom Bailey, but he managed to use his strength and shook the defender away and crashed a quality shot from an acute angle into the far corner of the net. There was time for one more chance in the first half, the referee did well to wave play on after Lopes was fouled, Ilhan quickly got the ball and shot at goal, but was denied again by James Docherty.
The second half began much in the same way with Kingstonian applying more pressure and usually being stopped by the inspired Ascot United goalkeeper, though the best chance in the first few minutes of the half fell to Ascot United. Some unusually sloppy play by Kwesi Ntim saw him lose possession of the ball, which was fed to Lawson Jones, whose shot was well saved by the alert Shay Honey.
On the hour, the lead was doubled - David Lopes was felled about thirty yards out, picked himself up, took the free kick and launched a rocket into the top corner of the net. Three entries in two games for the David Lopes Free Kick of the Week award and it's impossible to choose a winner.
Details of this second goal had only been half scribbled down in the writer's notebook when Kingstonian scored their third goal. K's won a corner in the 63rd minute, Alex Body saw hit point blank effort brilliantly saved by James Docherty, the rebound fell nicely to Marco Haigh, who was able to force the ball home for his second Cup Final goal of the week..
It wasn't game over, however, as Ascot United went straight down the other end in the 65th minute, a fine through ball found Lawson Jones, who rounded Shay Honey and tapped the ball home. The goal was a massive boost for Ascot United, and a second goal for the young Yellamen would have made things a bit too entertaining as the time ticked down, but Kingstonian were able to ride the storm and saw the game out, forcing the Ascot goalkeeper into several more top stops. After five minutes of added time, the final whistle was blown and Kingstonian had won their second trophy in three days. David Lopes was once again given the man of the match award for his second two goal burst of the week.
Kingstonian: Shay Honey, Kylron Pierre, Rob McGowan, Freddie Bailey, Alex Andreou, Lucas Clarke, Iker Noguera Leon, Kwesi Ntim, David Lopes, Marco Haigh, Rocco Ilhan
Subs: Omar Murad (for David Lopes, 88m), Callum Stephens, Tom Pendrich (for Marco Haigh, 74m), Joshua Alvarez, Alex Body (for Iker Noguera Leon, 55m).
Ascot United: James Docherty, Tom Bailey, Jack McCart, Toby Thompson, Luke Phillips, Will Chaisty, Oliver Mann, Jake Pandhor, Lawson Jones, George Fairbairn, Elliott Tomkins.
Subs: Kian Hughes, Jack Birchmore, Oliver Mason (for Jack McCart, 77m), Matt Hurdwell (for Elliott Tomkins, 69m), Harry Holden.
Goal scorers: David Lopes (42m, 1-0), David Lopes (60m, 2-0), Marco Haigh (63m, 3-0), Lawson Jones (65m, 3-1)
Photos by Caroline Rudoni