East Gwent Senior League Fishwick Cup final - Chepstow Town 4 Sudbrook CC 1
EXPERIENCE paid dividends as Chepstow Town defied the pre-match predictions to beat a young Sudbrook team and lift the Fishwick Cup for the second time in three years.
The opening exchanges were fairly even and with strikers Joe Whitehouse and Zak Hitchens enjoying lots of space, it looked likely that their pace would cause Town’s defence problems.
But slowly, stubborn defence forced the pair to drop deeper to gain possession and try to find a way through Town’s defence.
Man of the match Tom Philp broke the deadlock with the first goal before two penalties in quick succession doubled the advantage.
The first was saved by Sudbrook keeper Gavin Ellis but he was unable to repeat the feat when Steve Smith took over spot-kick duties and made it 2-0.
In the second half, Town expected Sudbrook to throw everything at them but their back four of Steve Pattison, Gary Clinton, Richard Morgan and Sean Canavan held firm and with keeper Nick Nesbit in good form, they repelled every attack.
Sudbrook’s need for an early goal meant gaps appeared in their defence and when Jack Swift’s 25 yard shot proved too hot for Ellis, the ball fell kindly for Chris Hooper to make it 3-0 from 12 yards.
Town’s fourth came from Smith who out jumped Sudbrook’s defence at a corner to plant a firm header into the roof of the net.
Chris Philips scored his third goal in three games, again from the spot, to gain some consolation but it was too little too late.
The victory was a triumph for manager Lee Watkins, according to defender Sean Canavan.
“Lee’s tactics worked a treat,” he said later. “We knew Sudbrook would come at us but once we weathered the storm and Steve Pattison headed a shot off our goal line, we dominated.”
Sudbrook manager Gary Vaughan congratulated his opponents for “a well-deserved win” but praised his team for their performances over the season.
“Lee came with a game plan which really worked. Their back four were excellent and the centre-backs were really solid.
“But let’s not forget the effort my young side put in,” he said.
“Our centre-backs are 19 years old and still learning a difficult position.
“Our midfield trio have been fundamental in an 18-game unbeaten win which secured second place and up front, Joe and Zac have been superb.
“We have a great team ethos which we plan to build on to support our first team.”