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Gard of honour in charity shoot-out
5:12pm Tuesday 28th August 2012 in Sport
NEW Gardeners won the first silverware of the campaign after beating last season’s historic treble winners Mill Hill in a shoot-out.
Paddy Lauber scored the decisive spot kick at Griffin Park as the Darwen team won 5-4 on penalties after the match had ended 1-1.
But it was keeper Adam Brindle who was New Gardener’s real hero as he made several top saves in normal time while keeping out Leigh Smith’s kick in the shoot-out which proved to be decisive.
Mill Hill got off to a flying start when Paul Heyes tripped Scott Wisbey in the area and the ever reliable Mark Taylor converted the penalty.
The league and cup double winners, who also won the LFA Sunday Trophy last season, were well on top and Liam Fryer flashed a shot across the face of goal before Brindle saved well with his legs to deny Josh Eastwood who had raced on to a fine ball from Martin Middlehurst.
Heyes then had his keeper to thank as his weak back pass was pounced upon by Dean Clarke who freed Fryer – but his effort was saved by Brindle who also denied Eastwood again.
But it wasn’t just Brindle who was keeping Mill Hill at bay as centre back Pete Dunkerley was rock solid in front of him.
The same could be said about Mill Hill pair Lee Lysons and Danny Finch who didn’t give Andy George and Mark Hine a sniff.
But almost out of nothing, Gardeners orchestrated a wonderful equaliser.
Skipper Glen Ainsworth and Lauber exchanged passes in the middle of the park before Lauber found Phil Smith with a superb defence splitting ball. Smith’s first time centre was hammered home by George.
Gardeners were now in the game and George forced Gareth Barratt in to a smart save before the keeper kept out a header from Dunkerley and a shot from Steve Croft.
After the break both sides had chances, Mill Hill sub Luke Hargreaves going the closest when he curled an effort against the bar.
In to the shoot-out and Taylor and Antony Harkness safely dispatched for Mill Hill with Liam Davies and Dunkerley doing likewise for Gardeners.
Brindle then guessed right to keep out Smith’s effort.
The remaining kicks – Close and Ainsworth for Gardeners and Hargreaves and Fryer for Mill Hill – were spot on, leaving Lauber to slot home the winner.
The other winner on the day was the Royal British Legion as all proceeds were donated to the Poppy Appeal.
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