Huddersfield Cup Final

Market Drayton 3

Whitchurch Alport 3

(Alport won 4-2 on penalties)

A PULSATING Huddersfield Cup final ended with Whitchurch Alport landing the trophy in a dramatic penalty shootout at Telford on Friday night.

Alport came from behind three times during the game and for large parts of it the Reds played arguably some of their best football of the season.

Drayton missed the final penalty to hand the cup to Whitchurch, prompting wild celebrations both on the pitch and in the stands with fans and players coming together as one.

The game got off to the kind of start which set the tone for the next 90 minutes, and it was Town who landed the first blow.

A wicked delivery from the right-hand side made its way through to Harvey Howell and he had the simple task of cushioning the ball past Dave Parton whose first task was to pick the ball out of the net.

Alport responded well after that early setback and Lee Pickerill forced Ash Rawlins into a full-length save.

The Reds were building momentum and constructed several excellent team moves with Joe Cuff and Dan Skelton both guilty of a lack of composure in the penalty area.

It came as no surprise then when Luke Goddard's men levelled on 33 minutes and it was that man Pickerill who finished neatly into the bottom corner.

Before Alport's huge following had finished celebrating, Drayton went back in front straight from the kick-off.

Ethan Stanton chanced his arm from outside the box and Parton allowed the ball to squirm from his grasp and it went in off the base of the post. At half-time the team were applauded off the field by the Red Army who were appreciative of their side’s efforts.

Within five minutes of the restart Alport levelled for a second time and it was a special goal.

Cuff smashed the ball past Rawlins to spark incredible scenes as he slid on his knees to be mobbed by teammates right in front of the Whitchurch fans.

Then came Drayton's best spell of the game and it was a nervy 10 minutes or so with some good goalkeeping and superb defending keeping them out.

As the pendulum continued to swing Pickerill tested Rawlins who was equal to the shot, but with just six minutes to go Drayton went in front for the third time and it looked curtains for Alport.

A rare defensive slip gave Glyn Coney a sight of goal and he gobbled up the chance from close range. It was cruel on the Reds but once again they regrouped and were awarded a penalty with just two minutes left awarded for handball.

With nerves jangling in the stands, Alex Hughes dispatched an ice cool spot kick right into the bottom corner to once again spark delirium in the seats.

The match was to be decided on penalties and the first five were virtually unstoppable with Hughes, Pickerill and Cuff all deadly from 12 yards.

Daniel Beddows was the first player to show nerves and smacked his penalty onto the top of the bar, and when Sean Griffiths netted his pen it put enormous pressure on Matthew Ballard.

His kick was a weak one and Parton saved his seventh penalty of the season to win the cup in the most dramatic of fashions.