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Mill Hill's magical run is finally over
MILL Hill’s utter domination of the county cups is finally over – but they went down with a fight.
Having created history by becoming the first team to win three successive Lancashire FA finals, the all-conquering Blackburn side finally met their match.
A year after sweeping South Short aside in a 7-1 humbling, Bolton Lads and Girls Club proved to be a different proposition.
In fairness, Bolton just about shaded it but they were pushed all the way by a Mill Hill side whose never-say-die attitude put the outcome in the balance right up until the final whistle.
Bolton started the brighter with Mill Hill looking oddly out of sorts.
So it was no surprise when Alex Killen clipped in a free kick from the edge of the area leaving Mill Hill keeper James Beck rooted to the spot.
The centre back had served warning of his set piece prowess moments earlier when he fired in from distance, the shot taking a slight deflection of the wall before Beck safely gathered.
The goal woke Mill Hill from their slumber and suddenly captain, Harvey Close, who was exceptional throughout the evening, began to pull the strings in the middle of the park. It was his ball that released Reece Thompson haring down the right wing and his low cross picked out Jack Walsh whose shot clattered against the underside of the bar before Raheem Saddique fired the follow up over the bar.
Ewan MacAdam tested Callum Charlton in the Bolton goal from a free kick while Thompson drilled another just over the bar.
But Bolton were dangerous on the break, George Miller mishit when well placed then had a goal ruled out just before the break.
The second half started at a frantic pace with Mill Hill trying to stamp their authority on the final.
And that early pressure paid off when Walsh scored direct from a corner with a deliciously whipped in cross that had Charlton flapping at thin air.
Beck pulled off a fine point blank save to deny Miller at the other end while a late flag denied Mill Hill the lead, Ashley Ord racing on to Saddique’s excellent pass to finish with aplomb. How Ord must have wished he had shown such composure at his next sight on goal.
With action flashing from end to end, Bolton took the lead with 10 minutes remaining. Skipper Matthew Cain dinked a ball in to the area and the dangerous Miller controlled and hammered the ball home.
Mill Hill hit back and Ord should have drawn level after winning a ball he had no right to win but then firing wide when he should have scored. He showed true commitment to outpace Corey Stringer then put pressure on Charlton in the Bolton goal who spilled the ball. But with the goal at his mercy, he prodded wide.
Ord or his Mill Hill team-mates refused to let their heads drop and Saddique was inches away from a late leveller but his shot just cleared the bar.
But it wasn’t to be and Mill Hill’s firm grip on the LFA silverware was finally prised away.
Mill Hill: James Beck, Liam Wilkinson, Ewan MacAdam, Jordan Swift, Jack Jolley, Harvey Close, Reece Thompson, Raheem Saddique, Adam Stubbs, Tom Hampson, Jack Walsh. Subs: Ashley Ord, Jordan Hyatt, Jack Davies, Tom Corner.
Bolton Lads and Girls Club: Callum Charlton, Ryan Aldred, Corey Stringer, Alex Killeen, Jamie Rollon, Matthew Cain, Jake Galea, Dylan Winstanley, George Miller, Anthony Hulton, Zain Hussain. Subs: Adam Riley, Adam Cooper, Luke Howarth, Dylan Foster Swanton.