Egham Stags and Ridge Rovers battled it out at Meadowbank for the Sunday Lower Junior Cup, with Rovers coming out as champions after a quick second-half double.
Egham Stags started the game brightly and looked to take an early lead in the tie as they were awarded a penalty in the second minute, but Sam Roach blasted his effort over the bar and the scores remained level.
The penalty miss seemed to unsettle Egham from their strong start, and Ridge Rovers looked to capitalise. They had a great chance to take the lead when awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, George Walker’s shot was spilt by keeper Harvey Bennett, but before Ridge Rovers could capitalise, Bennett pounced on the ball and smothered any possible danger.
Rovers had another chance later on as Harvey Lavender had a shot from the edge of the box, forcing another good save from Bennett who pushed the ball onto the post, and luckily for Egham, the rebound fell to Walker whose effort was ballooned over the bar.
In a breathless half, next it was Egham’s Louis Kergant who could have opened the scoring, but his shot was straight at Ollie Ellaway in the Ridge Rovers goal.
Egham Stags looked to take a lead into the break, neat work between Josh Daily and Harry Light on the right wing looked to get the better of the Ridge Rovers’ defence, as Light picked out Louis Kergant in the box. Kergant, whose strike looked destined to nestle in the bottom corner, saw it well blocked to safety.
Despite chances from both teams in a tight first half, the scores remained level at half-time with everything still to play for.
Ridge Rovers started the second half well and opened the scoring on the 48th minute through captain Harry Walker. As a corner was swung in from the left, Bennett’s punch was knocked back in, and Walker’s flick looped into the net to put Ridge Rovers ahead.
Ridge Rovers, now with the momentum, looked to kill the game off and sure enough grabbed another in the 55th minute through George Walker. A breakaway down the right was pumped into the box, and the ball fell to Walker on the right who stroked his effort under Bennett to double their advantage.
Rovers looked to add a third, but a great double save from Bennett kept the score at 2-0. As Walker got in behind, his shot from the right of the box was blocked by Bennett, but the clearance fell only as far as a Rovers player on the edge of the box who forced another good save.
Tensions started to flare in the dugout, and the match started to heat up as Egham Stags looked for a way back into the match and as Egham looked through on the counter, Rovers George White was deemed to have pulled down the last man and was shown a red card by referee Ben Moggridge.
As the game descended towards the final whistle, Egham were battling hard to try and make their extra man advantage count.
Their best chance came in the first minute of 5 of additional time, as Daily’s shot was well saved by Ellaway but the ball was put back in by Petch, who picked out McShane whose powerful shot hit the underneath of the bar before Petch put an effort wide of the post.
Despite Egham’s best efforts, Ridge Rovers held on for the clean sheet and secured the Sunday Lower Junior Cup title.
Goals (Ridge Rovers): Harry Walker (48’) George Walker (55’)
MOM: Harry Walker
Referee: Ben Moggridge
Assistant Referee: Iain Bryant
Assistant Referee: Keith Gardener
Fourth Official: Abi Freullett
Egham Stags: Harvey Bennett, Charlie Ancell ©, Kai Rudd, Dan Greenway, Harry Light, Sam Roach, Louis Kergant, Conor McShane, Josh Daily, Ryan Edwards, Jack Dunn, Aaron Petch, Ashley Theobald, Josh Capacci, James Cook
Ridge Rovers: Ollie Ellaway, Adam Latter, Tyler Chambers, Lewis Harrnett, Harry Walker ©, George White, George Walker, Harvey Lavander, Lee Peacock, James Allen, Finlay Carney, Tommy White, Alfie Weare, Hamza Husain, Reis Eren, Sam Blake