Heaton Stannington A 2-0 Newcastle East End Reserves
Northern Alliance Neville Cowey Cup Semi Final
Saturday 1 May 2021
After winning their group, the Stan had home advantage in their semi-final as they welcomed group two runners up Newcastle East End Reserves to Grounsell Park. There was only one change from the last group match with Walker replacing Bruce who had been injured during it.
The Stan started well, and Riley had a header cleared off the line in the first 5 minutes. From the clearance Munir had a left foot pile driver from the edge of the box superbly tipped over by East End’s keeper. From a Poole free kick which, was won by Westphal, Harris opened the scoring in 10 minutes by beating the keeper to the ball and heading it into an empty net. Westphal then had 2 great chances to score after good work by Harper and Walker respectively, but he was denied by a last ditch tackle for the first one and then he chipped the keeper with the second but it went just wide. Riley then had a volley from a Westphal corner brilliantly saved at point blank range as the Stan could have been out of sight after half an hour.
East End came into it in the last 15 minutes of the first half but without working Ripken as solid defending by Dunne, Harris, Riley & Forster meant that the visitors could not create shooting opportunities despite a couple of threatening runs from ex Stan Dan Quine. As Anjos and Poole continued with Westphal to dominate in the middle of park, further half chances came and went for the Stan before half time.
The lingering concern was that the Stan would come to regret missing so many chances in the first half but a strong start to the second half was capped off by a fine second goal on 60 minutes, as Poole found Walker, who picked out the pass for a super overlapping run by Dunne and his low centre was converted by Harper from six yards out to settle nerves. Changes followed as Carr came on for Forster at left back in 62 minutes and then Da Costa replaced the injured Westphal on 70 minutes. East End tried to come back into it, but solid defending kept them at bay and particularly in the form of a heroic block from a goal bound shot by East End’s number 14. Meanwhile the Stan remained a constant threat on the counterattack including a Munir cross shot hitting the bar and then Harper lobbing a tough chance into the grateful arms of the keeper. The final two substitutions saw the excellent Walker and Munir replaced in 80 minutes by Jones and Uweru respectively
Further opportunities to extend the lead came & went as the Stan were thwarted by a last ditch tackle or by their final ball letting them down. Jones had a goal bound effort blocked after a neat one two with Harper and good work between Carr and Uweru saw another chance thwarted by a last ditch tackle. Harris also headed just wide from a corner. As the game petered out through a combination of game management and fatigue, the final whistle saw the Stan deservedly reach the Neville Cowey Cup final for the second year in a row after a dominant victory. Last year’s final against West Jesmond was cancelled due to Covid so the Stan finally get to play in a Neville Cowey cup final on Saturday although unfortunately behind closed doors at Seaton Delaval. As well as winning the cup, they also have the opportunity for revenge as their opponents, Cullercoats Reserves, are the only team who beat them in the group stage.
Stan: Ripken; Dunne; Forster (Carr 62); Anjos; Riley; Harris; Walker (Jones 80); Poole; Harper; Westphal (Da Costa 70); Munir (Uweru 80). Sub unused: Bruce.
Russell Ward / Kevin Mochrie