Westfields come from behind to clinch ninth County Challenge Cup triumph

Westfields come from behind to clinch ninth County Challenge Cup triumph

Mark Davis wins an aerial challenge with Mark Smith.

Mark Davis wins an aerial challenge with Mark Smith.

Jamie Cuss (left) and skipper Mark Davis lift the HFA County Challenge Cup. 081301-3

Jamie Cuss (left) and skipper Mark Davis lift the HFA County Challenge Cup. 081301-3

First published in Sport

Westfields 2 Pegasus Juniors 1.

WESTFIELDS came from behind to clinch the HFA County Challenge Cup for the ninth time with a hard-fought victory at Edgar Street on Easter Monday.

All three goals were scored in a seven-minute spell in the last 15 minutes of a cup final which burst into life after the interval.

Pegasus took the lead with a powerful drive from Chris Mortlock in the 75th minute after a superb run and cross by Ben Price.

But Pegasus' celebrations were short-lived and the Hellenic League side were left to rue their failure to deal with two right-wing corners.

Jamie Edwards levelled direct from a corner kick in the 77th minute and Scott Jackson headed home Westfields' winner in the 82nd minute after another flag-kick had caused panic in the Pegasus defence.

Westfields have now won the trophy nine times - one fewer than Kington Town and Hinton.

The first half was a largely unmemorable affair with a gusty wind causing problems for both sets of players.

Both teams had a couple of opportunities.

Westfields had the best chance of the half in the fourth minute when Jackson played the ball through to Edwards whose angled drive was parried by Pegasus goalkeeper James Morgan.

The ball fell into the path of in-form Mark Davis at the far post but the striker appeared to miss his kick and a Pegasus defender made a goal-saving clearance.

Pegasus almost opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Mortlock created a shooting chance inside the box but his effort was blocked and Jon Pugh comfortably gathered the ball.

Westfields' Paul Allam was played through in the 43rd minute but he cut inside from the right only to be denied by Morgan who saved bravely with his legs.

However, Morgan appeared to be injured in the challenge and needed several minutes of treatment before he was back on his feet.

The second-half offered much more entertainment and immediately sprang to life.

Pegasus' Anthony Robbins was fortunate not to be sent off within five minutes of the re-start.

Robbins was booked for a foul inside 30 seconds of the second half and escaped a second caution after a clumsy challenge in the 49th minute.

Pegasus were denied by the woodwork in the 53rd minute after Simon Gwynne turned sharply to drill a 25-yard shot against the bar.

But the Midland Alliance outfit hit back and a 64th-minute corner from Edwards was headed wide at the back post by the unmarked Tom Sparey.

Jackson then turned well inside the box and his eight-yard shot was straight at Morgan in the 72nd minute.

Pegasus drew first blood with 15 minutes remaining, from the best move of the match.

Price surged through the midfield before squaring the ball for Mortlock who hammered an unstoppable right-foot shot past Pugh at the Meadow End.

But Westfields levelled in bizarre circumstances in the 77th minute.

Edwards swung in a corner kick which sailed over Morgan and bounced into the net off the inside of the far post.

Pegasus then conceded a needless corner in the 82nd minute - and it proved costly.

Chris Jefferson sent over the flag-kick and Sparey had a shot blocked by a Pegasus defender after a scramble at the back post.

With Morgan lying on the ground, the ball broke to Jackson who headed home from virtually on the goal-line.

Robbins was again fortunate to escape a second booking after a late challenge sent Jefferson sprawling.

Darren Lynch's Westfields side ran down the clock to record their fifth County Challenge Cup triumph in seven years.

Pegasus have won the competition six times - their last success was in 1999.

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