Carew 1-2 Merlins Bridge 

Two late goals by Joe Leahy earned Senior Cup glory in dramatic fashion for Merlins Bridge against a battling Carew at a sun-kissed Bridge Meadow Stadium.

The Rooks led 1-0 for 86 minutes, Sam Christopher pouncing in the 26th minute, but there was a twist of fate right at the death when Joe Leahy struck two goals in quick succession to win the cup for the Wizards.

It has to be said that Tom Bevan had an excellent afternoon in the middle, always had firm control in a final played in a good competitive spirit.

It was cruel luck for Carew as they had played so well in this cup final and totally dominated the first period, but you have to admire the Bridge’s tremendous spirit of never giving up, and were rewarded with Leahy the double scoring hero.

The Rooks had the better of possession and chances in the first period, but it was the Wizards who carved the first scoring opportunity. Joe Leahy curled in a dangerous free kick which centre back Scott Richards cleared.

Minutes later and the Rooks worked the ball up field and put the Wizards defence under pressure. Jordan Richards’ excellent ball found Sam Christopher, the lively striker cut into the box and after it deflected back to him off Richard Hughes, his low shot was too close to Gary Thomas.

The menacing Laurie Haworth made good ground down the left and his excellent cross was met by Nathan Greene who headed wide and didn’t trouble Tom Davies in goal.

Sam Christopher opened the scoring in the 26th minute, Rooks’ skipper Iwan Izzard’s cross-field pass found Alex Bayley, the latter laid a well weighted pass to Christopher who rifled his shot crashing into the back of the net from 12 yards.

That goal certainly rattled the Wizards, and the Rooks sensed this could be their day as they continued to press. Ian Darbyshire excellent cross was met by a far post header by Jack Christopher that went harmlessly wide.

Bridge keeper Gary Thomas was forced into an error as he mis-hits a clearance to Shaun Whitfield, the right back knocked the ball into the box and centre back Chris Ormond did brilliantly to intercept and clear.

There was great feet by Jordan Richards out on the right before his well weighted cross was glanced over by Christopher.

Just before the break and another Shaun Whitfield long throw deflected off the head of Leahy and wide for a corner.

Just before the break Tom Davies pulled off a good block to deny Laurie Haworth.

The front pairing of Richards and Christopher had caused the Wizards back four plenty of problems but the Bridge came out with more intent in the second period, as Hawkins won a ball in midfield and played a superb ball into Leahy, who shot wide from the edge of the 18 yard box.

The Wizards went close to equalising, Andrew John’s shot was spilled by Davies, and Greene pounced on the rebound only for Richards to stick out a leg and block his shot - brilliant defending.

Moments later and Hawkins failed to connect with a volley from 12 yards out. Haworth went down after tangling with Whitfield but no penalty given, and Sam Christopher is booked for dissent.

Scott Ferney came on for the hard working Jordan Richards, and the game became a little scrappy with Greene late on Scott Richards, picking up a yellow card for his troubles.

Carew seemed to be running down the clock and with just four minutes remaining the Wizards equalised with an absolute worldie from Leahy, the striker struck a spectacular 30 yarder that flew in off the post.

In stoppage time, Leahy struck a second, the striker latched onto Greene’s flick on and Leahy ran clear to coolly slot past Davies to turn this cup final on its head.

Matthew D'Ivry: "I thought it was a pretty poor game of football to be honest. The heat was a factor - for me personally anyway!

"We showed character. I don't think we played well but a bit of quality from Joe changed the game."

Joe Leahy: "I didn't have the legs to run through so I just hit it (to make it 1-1).

"To be honest I was in Jack Christopher's pocket for most of the game but then two chances came.

"I think our fitness got us through. They were going down with cramp towards the end and then came five minutes of madness."

Carew manager Rob Scourfield: "I'm really disappointed I thought we played really well for 70 minutes.

"I thought we were the better team and I don't think anyone could argue that. We didn't look in too mch trouble but then Joe Leahy scored a great goal.

"And then as so happens in football, we looked tired."

Carew assistant manager Jeremey Griffiths: "I'm gutted. We were so close to doing all the celebrating that they are doing now.

"I don't think anything went dramatically wrong. Joe Leahy comes up with a wonder strike and the keeper has no chance, and the momentum changed dramatically.

"We're proud of the lads. We couldn't have asked for anymore."

Carew: Tom Davies, Zac Rowell, Jack Christopher (78, James Hinchliffe), Scott Richards, Shaun Whitfield (89, Max Brindley), Iwan Izzard (Captain), Ian Darbyshire, Lloyd Hughes, Alex Bayley, Sam Christopher, Jordan Richards (62, Scott Ferney).

Merlins Bridge: Gary Thomas, Chris Ormond (Captain), Richard Hughes (82, Will Haworth), Matthew D’Ivry (82, Jordan Thomas), Andrew John, Adam Hawkins, David Davies (92 Gethin Roberts), Ashley Beck, Laurie Haworth, Joe Leahy, Nathan Greene.

Referee: Tom Bevan.

Assistants: Sean O’Connor and Gareth Elliot.

Fourth Official: James Olyott.