Glossop North End clinched a league and cup double with a 2-0 win over Atherton Collieries in the final of the Men United Cup at the Tameside Stadium.
Goals in each half saw Glossop through to victory and keep them on course for a unique treble, with the FA Vase final against North Shields at Wembley to come next Saturday.
For Colls, it was a night to forget as they collected cup final runners-up medals for the second week in a row, and finished the game with nine men after having captain Brad Cooke and leading scorer Mark Battersby both sent off.
Glossop kicked off facing into bright evening sunshine, and immediately took the attacking initiative, creating the first chance of the game on 5 minutes.
A ball played down the left channel found Sam Hind in space, and he almost caught out Colls keeper Danny Taberner with an audacious lob from 25 yards that drifted just wide of the far post.
A minute later Hind was involved again in the action, this time testing Taberner with a snapshot that the keeper smothered down by his near post, and moments later Mark Reed headed wide from a Michael Bowler cross whipped into the box.
Glossop continued to exert pressure, and finally made the breakthrough in the tenth minute. After Sam Hind was denied by a fine blocking tackle from Sam Grimshaw’s cross, Tom Bailey swung in the resultant corner and captain for the night Kelvin Lugsden rose to head goalwards, and Colls keeper Danny Taberner got the final touch on the ball to help it into the back of the net.
Glossop continued to enjoy the better of the possession for the next ten to fifteen minutes, without creating much in the way of clear chances, although their corner count rose regularly and was approaching double figures by the half hour mark before Colls had finally began to push forward.
But eventually Colls created a couple of half chances, before they tested Greg Hall in the Glossop goal for the first time on 35 minutes.
Slack play at the back by the Glossop defence conceded the ball to Mark Battersby, and despite being surrounded by defenders, he managed to lay the ball off to Kristian Holt whose shot was on target, but lacked the power to test Hall, who gathered the ball comfortably.
However, the main talking point of the first half arrived five minutes before half time, when a confrontation between Glossop’s Eddie Moran and Colls’ Brad Cooke developed into a full scale melee with players from both sides involved.
After order was finally restored, the referee consulted with both assistants and the fourth official before showing a straight red card to Cooke, whose departure provoked further confrontations, this time between the occupants of both technical areas.
The half time break gave everyone a chance to regroup, but it was always going to be a tough ask for Colls to attempt a comeback with 10 men, and it got even tougher four minutes after the restart, when Glossop went two goals up.
A through ball from Tom Bailey found Mark Reed in space inside the box, and when he hit the ground under a defensive challenge, the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
After the Colls protests were waved away, Eddie Moran stepped up to send Taberner the wrong way with a coolly side footed penalty in the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Colls kept going, and after Mark Battersby fired a shot across the face of goal, another foray up front set him up for a long range effort that flew over the crossbar.
However, on the hour mark Battersby and Glossop full back Matthew Russell exchanged words after both had gone into a challenge for the ball, and the referee took time out to lecture both players without showing a card, which worked in the Colls’ striker’s favour as he had been shown a yellow card earlier.
But Battersby’s luck ran out with 15 minutes to go when he caught Kelvin Lugsden with a late tackle, and the referee showed him his second yellow card to reduce Colls to nine men.
From then on, Glossop were content to keep possession and probe for openings, and late on Tom Bailey was unlucky when he powered a header wide from Michael Bowler’s whipped in right wing cross, and rounded off a good individual display with the final effort of the game, a long range effort that was gathered by Taberener.
After the final whistle Glossop were presented with the trophy and medals by Ade Akinbiyi, the former Leicester and Burnely striker, who attended the game in his role as a supporter of the Prostate Cancer UK charity.
Glossop North End manager Chris Willcock said: “It was a bit feisty at times as the game developed.
“We wanted a quick start, to get about them and upset them, and we did that quite well in the first half.
“I was very disappointed after we scored that we didn’t retain the ball as well as we would have liked, and our set pieces weren’t up to their usual standard although we did win a lot of corners.
“I said to the players at half time that 1-0 isn’t good enough for me and shouldn’t be for you. Although we had controlled the first half I felt we should have been another goal up at least.
“The penalty – was it a bit soft? I know the defender was the wrong side making the challenge, but the referee deemed it was, although if I think if I was the Atherton Collieries manager I would probably be a little bit aggrieved by that.
“Overall if you look at the whole game I think we deserved to win it, I don’t think they created much against us or had many chances, and we are delighted to come out winners.
“To win another trophy on the way to playing in another cup final is always nice. It keeps the confidence high and the lads are in great spirits.
“We’re not going to allow the lads to put their feet up yet, although it’s well deserved. We’ve got nine or ten days preparation now for the Vase final, and we’ll use it wisely”.
The photo above shows the Men United Cup and the Prostate Cancer UK banners before the game. Photo courtesy of Steve McLellan.
Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Nathan Battersby, Josh Messer, Gareth Carsonm Matt Grimshaw, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke (captain), Mark Battersby, Kristian Holt, Mark Truffas.
Substitutes: Matt Boland (for Mark Truffas 73), Wes Bancroft (for Gareth Carson 73), Andy Heald, Tom Shaw (for Kristian Holt 85), Keith Wedge.
Glossop North End: Greg Hall, Michael Bowler, Matthew Russell, Kelvin Lugsden (captain), Richard Gresty, Martin Parker, Sam Grimshaw, Sam Hind, Tom Bailey, Mark Reed, Eddie Moran.
Substitutes: Sam Hare (for Sam Hind 65), Ben Richardson, Danny White (for Martin Parker 60), Chris Denham (for Mark Reed 84).
Referee: Ben Speedie
Assistants: Gary Dinsmore, Chris Duckworth
Fourth Official: Aaron Jackson