Saturday 6th May 2017
M.E.N CUP FINAL
West Didsbury & Chorlton FC. 10:00am kick off
B Brooks 9
N Brooks 67
Hazel Grove 2 West Didsbury 1
Hazel Grove kept hold of their Manchester Evening News Cup after a deserved victory over a determined West Didsbury thanks to a Brooks double.
Grove went into the final as favourites but sprung a surprise in their team selection with Edmilson Justino selected to partner Ben Brooks up front with Sam Davidson left out. Niall Brooks was also dropped to the bench with Jay Doyle getting the nod in the other change from the previous final against Beechfield United.
Grove started strongly, Ben Brooks and Jason Walley combining well early on, in fact the opening 7 minutes to ball didn’t leave the Didsbury half – when it did via a long clearance Aaron Gibbs made an uncharacteristic error and Didsbury striker Luke Warburton nipped in and smashed the ball home to give Didsbury a shock lead.
The response from the Bulls was quick and clinical, straight from the kick off the ball dropped for Ben Brooks and he clinically beat Didsbury keeper Hatfield to level up the scores.
Grove continued to dominate Doyle winning his battle with former Grove player Ben Goudy and Josh Taylor made sure key Didsbury player Mark Perry didn’t have any space on the ball.
The Bulls almost took the lead on 20 minutes, good work down the right by Jason Walley saw the ball whipped to the edge of the box, a clever flick over the advancing defenders saw Brooks in on goal but his shot and follow up were saved and held by the keeper.
Despite Grove’s dominance Didsbury created the best two chances on the half, first Stokes shot was scrambled clear after a counter attack and from a long ball the same striker found himself one on one with Gibbs but couldn’t hit the target.
HT: HAZEL GROVE 1 WEST DIDSBURY 1
The second half started with Grove on the front foot, Jason Walley had a great chance to but Hazel Grove in front but saw his shot go just over the bar. Didsbury then had a chance after confusion in the Grove defence after another long ball but Warburton couldn’t get his shot on target.
Jason Walley and Ben Brooks both went close in a crazy goalmouth scramble, the ball hitting the bar before eventually being grabbed by the keeper. Manager Duncan Warrender then decided it was time to shuffle his pack – Davidson, Niall Brooks and Burkitt – all three unlucky not to star the game – replaced Justino, Burgon and Doyle.
On 67 minutes Grove finally got themselves in front, Goudy lost possession and pace and power saw a blistering counter attack down the right hand side, the ball switched to substitute Niall Brooks to fired home a brilliant goal.
Didsbury tried to push but the Grove back three of Roberts, Paul Walley and Fitzmaurice stood firm, when Didsbury did have the chance to put a dangerous ball in the quality let them down.
Experience and fitness came in to play in the last five minutes as Grove kept the ball well and in all honesty they never looked likely to concede as they hung on to win the M.E.N Cup for a second successive season.
The committee awarded man on the match to the Didsbury central defender although both Didsbury keeper Danny Hatfield and Grove midfielder Dominic Goodhall also had impressive games.
FT: HAZEL GROVE 2 WEST DIDSBURY 1
HGFC: Gibbs, Fitzmaurice, P Walley, Roberts, Goodhall, Taylor, Doyle (Burkitt), Burgon (N Brooks), J Walley, Justino (Davidson), B Brooks. Subs Not Used: Renshaw, Booth, Campbell
WDFC: D Hatfield, Childs, Houghton, Wright, Cawthra, McNeil, Perry, Goudy, Dunn, Warburton, Stokes. Subs: Cassells, Collins, C Hatfield, Thompson, Walker
Referee: Justin Bebbington
Assistant Referees: Ryan Hampson, Zeyad Ahmed
Fourth Official: David Hall
MAN OF THE MATCH
Another impressive performance in the heart of the midfield and just pipped partner in crime Josh Taylor to the man of the match award. Worked hard for 90 minutes and used the ball well on a difficult hard pitch.
Has had an excellent first season on the pitch and will be hoping for a good pre-season and an injury free 2017/18 season.