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East Lancs League: Agony to ecstasy for cup winners Athletic
6:00am Wednesday 14th May 2014 in Sport
Burnley Athletic 3 Whinney Hill 3 (AET - Athletic win 6-5 on pens)
East Lancashire League President’s Cup final
BURNLEY Athletic made up for the disappointment of missing out on the Division One title by lifting the President's Cup final on a night of high drama at the Arbories.
The league runners-up fought back from 3-1 down – the equaliser coming in the dying moments of normal time - to go on and beat Whinney Hill in a penalty shoot-out.
It meant all three East Lancashire League cup finals went to extra time and two in the space of two days decided on spot kicks.
In an entertaining and open final, both teams were he'll bent on playing attractive attacking football.
And it was favourites Athletic, who finished second behind Ivy FC in the league, who took an early lead.
Full back Adam Tibbs raced on to a fine ball from Keiran Carroll, cut in off the flank and beat Jack Walsh via a wicked deflection that loop in over the keeper.
But Whinney Hill drew level thanks to the tenacity of Calum Coyne and a piece of sublime skill from Nick Hewison.
Coyne held off Graham O'Dowd surged to the byline and whipped in a low cross that Hewison met on the run, thumping a curling effort in to the roof of the net.
Athletic keeper denied Damien Ellison denied Hill a second, saving superbly from Tom Walsh after good play by Coyne and Luke Broadhurst.
But Whinney Hill did take the lead early in the second half and again it was expertly executed.
Walsh's corner to the edge of the area found Ben Leather who drilled home a crisp volley.
Despite increasing pressure from Athletic, they were kept at bay thanks to some wonderful goalkeeping by Walsh who denied both Garvin and Tibbs and some last ditch defending - Liam Burnswell coming to the rescue on numerous occasions.
But Whinney Hill were dangerous on the counter attack and they extended their lead from one such foray upfield.
Chris Dwyer showed speed and strength before being fouled for a penalty - although the offence did appear to be outside the box.
Leather kept his composure and ignored some Athletic gamesmanship to firmly plant his spot kick home.
Back came Athletic and after Garvin forced Walsh in to another flying save, the winger finally got the better of the Hill keeper, curling in a wonderful free kick in-off the foot of the post.
It was a lifeline for Burnley but Hill had a great chance of a killer fourth goal but keeper Ellison who kept out Leather's effort.
With time ticking away, there was to be one more dramatic twist when Garvin - Athletic's most likely source of a goal - unleashed a dipping, swirling effort that Walsh did superbly to palm out only for Luke Thompson to slide home.
Extra time and Walsh and Garvin resumed their personal duel, the Hill keeper pulling off another top class save.
They then went head to head in the first of the penalties in the shoot-out, this time Garvin coming out on top.
Hewison responded for Hill before Aron Chapman and Coyne exchanged successful kicks.
But Hill got the first 'mini break', Walsh keeping out Marc Beckett's effort before Leather hammered home the advantage. Thompson converted Athletic's third as did Ryan Lawson for Hill - unfortunately it was convert in the rugby sense of the word, firing over the bar.
Tibbs for Athletic and Jake Fairwater got the scoring back on track before Ryan Ormerod tucked away the first of the sudden death spot kicks.
Young Connor Demain couldn't do likewise as his spot kick came back off the post and Athletic celebrated their cup success.
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