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ESPFA CUP FINAL 2023 REVIEW

A new name was due to be engraved on the ESPFA Cup as ESPFA West Midlands (Rushall Olympic Amber) and ESPFA Lancashire (Skelmersdale United) met for the first time in the ESPFA Cup.


Both sides had finished third in their respective league divisions, won their cup groups and progressed from two close semi-finals so a tight game was expected and that is exactly what we got.



The first chance of the game fell on eight minutes to the Pics' Josh Langley who's strike was well held by Lewis Jenkinson in the Blues goal.


Lancashire's Matt Disley had a great chance to open the scoring shortly after, but he could not fully connect from a swinging free kick.


Calvin Haddock had a big chance on 15 minutes when he shot over from 12 yards and with the game opening up, Mattaeus Morgan struck from distance for the Pics but it was well parried by his inter-league team mate Jenkinson.


The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes when Harrison Walker struck from the edge of the box to put the Midlands side into the lead.


Leyton Baines was next with a chance for Skelmersdale but his 25 yard strike was well saved by Joe Millward and out for a corner.


On 34 minutes, the game turned on its head within 120 seconds. Firstly Haddock equalised with a sweet strike into the top corner before Baines found Dom Evans in the box who neatly finished to put his side in the lead.



Rushall though responded well and got themselves back into the game on the stroke of half time when Jack McDermott controlled the ball beautifully and then struck a shot into the bottom corner to send both sides level in at the break.


After a frantic first half, the second period had a lot to live up to, but chances were few and far between with both sides eager to assert control and it wasn't until the 60th minute for the first real chance which turned out to be the winning goal.


Josh Langley's deep cross was met by Cavan Marlow who was on hand to tap in to spark wild celebrations.


ESPFA Lancashire (Skelmersdale United) tried hard to get back into the game without creating any clear cut opportunities and in the final minutes Giovanni Lwando had two chances to put the game to bed but was well denied by Jenkinson twice


The Pics eventually saw the game out to win the ESPFA Cup for the first time and made it two consecutive seasons they have taken home silverware following their National Championship success last season.



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