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ESPFA NATIONAL GRAND FINAL 2023 REVIEW

Updated: May 25, 2023

The divisional winners of the North and Midlands division met in the ESPFA National Grand Final to determine who would become National champions for the 2022/23 season


ESPFA Cheshire (Witton Albion) stormed to the North division with a record of nine wins from ten games and sealed their place in the showpiece final back in February. ESPFA Derbyshire (Belper Town) faced a more difficult task and were in a three way fight to progress and had to wait for the final game of the regular season to win the division on goal difference.


The game started off slowly with both teams finding each other out with this fixture being the first time they have come face to face and it was Zach Billinge who had the first chance of the game for Cheshire (Witton Albion) when the ball fell to him eight yards out but his shot deflected out for the first corner of the game.


Tom Barton responded with his own effort on 12 minutes but it was well saved by Owen Bird-Martin.


On what started off as a nice day suddenly turned into a monsoon with heavy rain affecting the flow of the game and it was Billinge again with a chance when he rounded Bobby Taylor but his strike hit the post.


The deadlock was broken in the 32nd minute when Zach Williams tapped home to give the Northerners the lead.


Ioannis Koutouzos, Jack Heath and Williams again had chances to extend the lead (Koutouzos and Williams) and equalise (Heath) but Williams goal was the sole key moment as the Cheshire side took a half time advantage.


Half time substitute Mani Hickson nearly made an immediate impact but the woodwork again came to Derbyshire's (Belper Town) rescue.


Ewan Sutherill had a great chance minutes later to equalise but the Midlands division top goalscorer could not find the target.


The goal of the game and quite possibly the season came on 56th minute when Harry Caulkin met a headed clearance 25 yards out and hit a rocket into the top corner to spark wild scenes.



That goal seemed to have knocked the wind out of the Nailer's and the game was over in the 72nd minute when Williams got his second tucking in a rebound.


Jake Tyson sealed the game three minutes from time when he crept in at the back post to tap in his side's fourth of the game.


After seven years of trying, ESPFA Cheshire (Witton Albion) have finally engraved their name on the ESPFA Trophy after a wonderful season.



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