Euxton Villa Reserves Crowned the Amateur Cup Winners After Beating Winstanley St Aidans 5-4 on Penalties
After a fantastic penalty save from gloveless Adam Caunce, David Prout held his nerve to score the decisive penalty, sparking wild celebrations among the Euxton Villa players and supporters.
Warm and very pleasant, the setting for the ﬁnal contrasted the tense and competitive action that took place on the pitch. Euxton heavily dominated the ball, looking to work their way through the opposition defense with precise passing, while Winstanley aimed to do their damage on the counterattack, using the pace of Cayne Hanley and Joe Hull to get in behind.
It was in this manner that the ﬁrst big chance of the game arose. Craig Naylor played a fantastic pass in behind the Euxton defence to Hull, who found himself one on one with the goalkeeper. However, his eﬀort was denied by a fantastic save from Caunce and the score remained level.
But sitting deep does come with its dangers, and Villa were able to create some chances in the ﬁrst half. Around the half an hour mark, a cross from the right-hand side found Lewis Sullivan in the middle of the box, where his eﬀort high in the net was denied by Josh Liprot. The goalkeeper was again called into action late in the ﬁrst half, when Liam McNally unleashed a rocket from outside the box. The strike was headed for the top corner, but Liprot leaped across to keep his side level at the break.
The second half was plagued by fatigue and nerves, meaning neither side could assert themselves on the game and generate any chances for themselves. Sean Elliot, who came oﬀ the bench for Euxton, managed to insert some ﬁght and energy into the game, but it was a scrappy 45 minutes, and the game was to be settled through a penalty shootout.
The once jubilant crowd became a lot more subdued as the anxiety grew. Alex Neil stepped up ﬁrst for Winstanley and converted expertly, and he was followed by four more perfect penalties after him.
With the score at 3-2 to Winstanley, it was time for the ﬁrst miss – Liam McNally, of Euxton, saw his shot go wide. There were celebrations from the Winstanley players and supporters as they were propelled into an advantageous position, but those celebrations were cut short, however, as the very next penalty was pulled wide.
The next three penalties were converted, and it was 4-4 heading into sudden death. It was here where the ﬁrst taker outside the chosen ﬁve stepped up, and it was here where the ﬁrst penalty save occurred. Adam Caunce dived low to his right and, after abandoning his gloves, made a critical save.
Now, with the chance to crown Euxton as champions, David Prout stepped up to the penalty spot. In a highly pressurised situation, he kept his nerve and slotted the ball home. The celebrations were huge, and after a closely fought encounter, Euxton Villa reserves were named the Amateur Cup champions.
FT: Euxton Villa Reserves 0-0 Winstanley St Aidans (5-4 on Penalties)
Euxton Villa Reserves are the new champions of the Amateur Cup 2023.