Four second half goals help Castle to win

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 11th April 2018 11:56 am

Caldicot Castle A, winners of the CCL Gill Cup. (Left to right) Back row: Joe O'Brien, Mathew Kinchin, David Hayward, Joe Shaw-Jones, Ciaran Adamson, Craig McCluskey, Steve Edwards, Dan Chambers, Kyle Williams, Rich Withey, Rick Woodland. Front Row: Connor Hamer, Richard Regulski, Tim Battersby, Paul Harris, Richard Lund, James Reid, Jake Withey.

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Monmouthshire Windows East Gwent League CCL Gill Cup Final - Rockfield Rovers 0 Caldicot Castle A 4

FOUR second-half goals kept alive Castle’s hopes of claiming a hat-trick of silverware with a deserved win over Rockfield.

But despite the four-goal margin, Castle were made to work for their success and, in the opening 20 minutes, Rockfield were faster and stronger than the league leaders, as Castle boss Joe O’Brien admitted later.

“We started very nervously. A lot of the guys were there to lift their first cup and I think it took us a while to realise Rockfield weren’t going to let us have it easy,” he said.

Real scoring chances were few and far between but Castle just shaded it, Steve Edwards and Rick Woodland unable to direct good headers in the right direction and then Castle keeper Dave Hayward sticking out a strong left hand to parry a 25-yard effort and it was all-square at the break.

“At half time I told the guys it was all there for them and I felt Rockfield would tire,” O’Brien added.

But within minutes of the restart, Rockfield’s Josh Phillips touched home a low, left-wing cross and wheeled away in celebration before seeing the assistant referee’s flag was raised.

The let-off saw Castle step it up and Man of the Match Richard Lund who had been enjoying more possession and more space than in the first half, might have put Castle ahead but his lunging attempt at the far post struck the upright and bounced clear.

He was not to be denied though and put Castle ahead two minutes later when he beat keeper Sam Dyersan to a bouncing ball and struck it into the corner of the net.

The relief among Castle’s players was plain to see and within minutes, they doubled the lead when skipper Craig McCluskey hammered a free-kick low and hard inside the far post.

With 20 minutes to go, McCluskey collected a pass from Paul Harris, broke through a tackle and eluded the onrushing keeper before scoring into the empty net.

The icing on the cake came when Lund broke free and set up James Reid for the fourth.

After watching his delighted team collect their awards and the Gill Cup, O’Brien paid tribute to his players.

“I’m very proud of the guys and it’s nothing short of what they deserve from the performances they have put in this season,” he said.

In his first season as manager, O’Brien can also take some credit for turning a team relegated from the Gwent County League 11 months ago into one competing for three trophies.

“We have the first in the bag and we have the league title and the Benevolent Cup final to play for.

“We wish Rockfield all the best for next season as we expect them to be fighting hard for silverware,” he added.

Bob Cypher

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