Newark Flowserve lift league cup following penalty win over Clifton All Whites
Newark Flowserve added the League Cup to their trophy room after beating Clifton All Whites 4-1 on penalties following a goalless 120 minutes of football.
Pre-game stats ahead of the East Midlands Counties League league cup final final showed the average gate at Lowfields this season had been 212, while their opponents, Clifton, averaged 38.
Flowserve’s support was apparent at Clipstone’s Lido Ground, the venue for the final, and when the match went to penalties, the exuberant Newarker’s gathered behind the goal and played their part in the shoot-out as The Highwaymen completed a silverware double for the second successive season.
Next season it will be new territory once again as the club takes Newark football up to step-five for the first time, but all at Lowfields will have to wait until a fortnight on Monday while their new league destination is determined by the Football Association.
It took 15 minutes for the nerves to settle and for the game to spring into life as two evenly-matched sides cancelled each other out.
Flowserve skipper Tom Potts drilled in a free-kick from distance, which just cleared the crossbar and his effort was followed by Sam Agar’s as the forward tried his luck from a similar distance with an identical result, before Clifton resorted to the physical side of the game to counter Flowserve’s attacks down the right-hand side.
The Flowserve attacks continued and Danny Meadows squared the ball across the face of goal where a stretching Jammy Lloyd could only guide his effort behind for a goal-kick.
A rare foray from Clifton saw Ashley Way pull the trigger with his left foot to bring a fine save out of former Notts County keeper Joe Searson as he dived to his right, but the action was soon down the other end again as Wells had a shot blocked, before setting up Agar for a smart volley which cleared the bar as the half ended goalless.
Flowserve thought they had got the breakthrough five minutes into the second period when a half volley from Rhys Lewis hit the bar and Bradley Wells followed up to net, but the latter was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
On 57 minutes a cracking left foot drive by Meadows brought a superb save out of Clifton keeper Scott Miles as he dived to his right, and Meadows’ effort on the rebound was blocked by an increasingly desperate All Whites rearguard.
Into extra-time and the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock was in the first-half of the added period when Lloyd headed over a Meadows corner from the right.
Meadows raised hopes when he curled a free-kick wide of the upright with the Clifton keeper static, but by that time the conversation among the crowd had centred on the relative merits of the two goalkeepers in the looming lottery of the shoot-out, but in the end, neither was needed.
Will Rawson, Lloyd, Meadows and Agar hit punishing spot-kicks, while Martin Ball and Aaron Large hoofed their efforts high over the bar, either side of successful effort from Tom Madison.