FC Pack Horse 1
By Angela Walker
IT was a case of spot the difference between these two Heavy Woollen Gate Premier Division sides as the final rested on who could score from the penalty spot, last Thursday.
Gomersal missed their first half chance from 12 yards. But Pack Horse made no mistake with their late opportunity from the spot and they lifted the trophy at the end of 90 minutes.
There was nothing to choose between the sides even before the kick-off as they turned up in almost identical shirts and they had to borrow gold home and white away kits from their hosts Ossett Albion.
On a glorious balmy evening both teams put in a breathless performance with chances at one end being mirrored at the other.
That none of the many chances were being put away is a credit to some tight defending and in particular two in-form goalkeepers. Mickey Taylor for Gomersal and Jamie Howarth for Pack Horse were largely responsible for the game being so tight.
Jason Jeffries tested Gomersal’s Taylor in the opening minutes but the goalkeeper got down well to make the save.
He was also tested with a series of Pack corners driven in low and hard but he was up to the task.
At the other end Kieran Armitage looked to put Gomersal in front with a great long range effort that was on target but Howarth smothered the ball.
Gomersal’s Jamie Smith showed great control to trap a long clearance from their own area and his first instinct was to go for goal but again Howarth got down to make the save. Minutes later Smith tried again but his feeble final shot belied a solo build-up.
Gomersal seemed to have a strong spell in the middle of the first half so it was no surprise when after 35 minutes their pressure appeared to have paid off.
A ball into the Pack Horse area was handled by Liam Roe and the penalty was awarded. Experienced Gomersal captain, Andy Kaye, stepped forward to take it but Howarth read it well and dived to his left to turn the ball around a post and keep the game scoreless.
The penalty save seemed to lift Pack Horse and they had a great chance to take the lead just before half-time when defender Marcus Newby arrived in the area on a well-timed run to meet a free-kick and made a firm low shot but Taylor got down well to turn it away.
As the floodlights came on in the second half the tempo stepped up for both sides.
Kaye linked well with Armitage and Field to create chances for Gomersal, Armitage saw his effort turned off the line by Scott Newby on the hour.
As time ticked away and thoughts turned to extra-time and even penalties the urgency crept into the game and Pack Horse’s Derek Lau shot wide.
Pack Horse, wearing the gold shirts, hit the jackpot 10 minutes from time when Jeffries surged into the area and was brought down by Jonathan Wilson. It was in no way malicious, it wasn’t that sort of game, but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot for the second time.
On this occasion Marcus Newby stepped up and his shot sent Howarth the wrong way and the ball landed in the bottom of the net.
To Gomersal’s credit they never gave up seeking an equaliser in the remaining eight minutes but Pack stood firm and were worthy winners in an entertaining game played in a good spirit.
Then it was off to change into their original shirts for the celebrations as Daniel Holdsworth lifted the trophy.
Gomersal: Taylor, Hill, R Blackburn, Wilson, Heddon, Leonard, Smith, Kaye, Armitage, Field, M Blackburn. Subs: Greenwood, Wilkinson, Winfield.
FC Pack Horse: Howarth, S Newby, J Newby, L Roe, M Newby, D Holdsworth, Lightowler, Wray. Lau, Jeffries, Stables. Subs: A Joseph, J Parkin, A Morton.
Referee: C Hepworth.