Howden Clough Under 18s suffered more heartache at the hands of Woodkirk Valley as they lost the RCD League Cup Final 3-2.
Clough lost by the same scoreline to the same opposition in the league earlier in the season and had seen their title hopes fade away, but they were hoping for a cup-winning end to their season.
Those hopes became slimmer, however, when they failed to clear a free-kick, allowing Patrick Franklyn to stab home from close range to give Woodkirk the lead within a minute.
Howden Clough struggled to recover from the setback but, although Woodkirk continued to pile on the pressure, they were unable to unlock their opponents’ defence and Clough actually looked the more likely to score with some speedy breaks that kept the Woodkirk defence busy.
A Luke Fozzard free-kick 30 yards from goal produced the equaliser when Anees Younis rose to head the ball over the onrushing keeper on the half-hour mark (1-1).
And Younis almost gave Clough the lead, moments later, with a tricky run on the left, but he was denied by a fine stop from keeper Ben Rhodes.
Woodkirk Valley continued to press and should have regained the lead but, with only the keeper to beat, their forward pulled his shot wide of the left post.
With the game drifting towards a half-time stalemate, McKenzie Smith produced a terrific run through the Clough last line to fire a shot from the right past the advancing keeper to restore Woodkirk’s
Younis looked likely to give Clough another equaliser minutes after the break but his rushed shot from the edge of the area flew just over the bar.
Both sides tried hard to pass the ball on the ground, which made for an attractive game, but while Clough’s Fozzard, Will Collins, Jack Shaw and Nick Kaye continued to threaten, they struggled to find a way past the Woodkirk defence of Jack Turner, Jack Casey, Joe Greatorex and Tom Cullinane.
Clough’s determination to get back on level terms inevitably opened up more space for the Woodkirk attack to exploit, and they did when McKenzie Smith struck his second and his side’s third with 20 minutes to go.
Clough had the lion’s share of possession in the closing stages and got their deserved reward when Callum Brear launched a shot from the right corner of the penalty area that dipped over the keeper and into the top corner (2-3).
But the goal was too little, too late and Woodkirk held for the final few minutes to lift the Cup.
Norristhorpe lifted the Under 11 League Trophy with a 2-0 final success against Drighlington.
Two second-half goals sealed victory for Norristhorpe.
Ethan Williams struck first to break the deadlock for the Fifth Division side and Arron Hickling added a second close to the end to seal victory for Mirfield-based Norristhorpe.
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