Swinton Queen 1 Brampton Ellis 0
FOR the second year running Swinton has a representative in the Totty Cup Final, after a match worthy of a final.
Defences were resolute, the goalkeepers were excellent and the general standard of play was a good advert for junior school football.
The game at this level is more commonly associated with a swarm of bees attracted to the ball, but the action was spread out across the field and players stayed in position.
Crossbars were struck, crucial saves were made, there were crunching tackles and even the odd late challenge, which gave referee Gordon Swann chance to give his whistle a blast.
Even the weather paid attention. The rain, which had fallen beforehand, held off for the duration of the match and promptly cast the playing fields in dark shadow when the netting had been removed.
The only things lacking were goals.
Ashley Linacre, captain of Swinton Queen, scored the game’s only goal with 10 minutes remaining.
Brampton defenders struggled to deal with a long throw into the box and the ball broke loose to Linacre 10 yards out.
With time and space he unleashed a first-time half-volley into the roof of the net, Brampton goalkeeper Jordan Shutt getting a touch but unable to prevent the goal due to the sheer power of the shot.
The chance was similar to one which fell to Linacre early in the second-half which he thundered against the crossbar.
Cue Swinton joy on the sidelines and a gutsy response from Brampton.
Kicking up a slight slope and into the wind they produced three great chances to try to take the match to extra time.
First James Owen watched his effort slice agonisingly wide after pouncing when Ross Levers in the Swinton goal dropped a deep cross.
Then big Aynsley Williams, unflappable alongside Matthew Pape at the heart of the Brampton defence all afternoon, brought another save from Levers, before the same keeper grabbed a speculative effort from under his cross bar to preserve the lead.
His best save came before the goal from Jake Hardcastle who had weaved his way past two defenders from the left hand side, only to be denied by Levers.
Man of the match – Ross Levers in the Swinton goal who just edged it over goalscorer Ashley Linacre
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