Win City (1 - 1) Whitchurch Utd (4 - 2 PENS)
Winchester City gave their supporters an anxious time at the North Hants Senior Cup Final held at Foxcotte Park, Andover, on Wednesday 22nd April 2015. The rock hard pitch, bumpy surface and lack of grass made City's passing game very difficult as did Whitchurch's packed defence and long ball clearances.
City were the first to show with Zack Glasspool forcing the 'keeper, Brad Snelling into a save with his feet at the expense of a corner. The resultant kick somehow was hacked against a post before being cleared.
It was Glasspool again who caused trouble when the 'keeper did well to hold his powerful shot.
Whitchurch came back into the game with several long ball penetrations but the City defence gave nothing away and 'keeper Gareth Barfoot was never really stretched.
At the other end Charlie Smeeton put his shot just wide of the far post after a good move involving Mick Hubbard and Warren Bentley set him up.
Just before half time Smeeton put a header wide after a good run by Tazz Roberts which resulted in a cross into the box.
Although City had the majority of the play in the first half they failed to create any width despite forays from Smeeton and Ryan Holloway and continued to attack through the centre which played into the hands of Whitchurch's packed defence.
Smeeton was on target again early in the second half and again the 'keeper made a good save.
City supporters were stunned in the 55th minute when they conceded a penalty but Barfoot dived to his left and saved the spot kick. He was, however, beaten on the hour when a cross was headed into the net.
Manager Paul Masters made two changes to try and refresh the attack, Holloway was replaced by Geoff Dunn and Smeeton was replaced by Liam Robinson.
Later he put fresh legs into midfield replacing Stuart Green with Chris Mason.
With City on top they had a strong 'handball' appeal turned down by Referee who with his Assistant were probably the only two people in the ground who failed to spot the offence!
A shot by Hubbard was tipped round the post by the 'keeper, but the Referee gave a goal kick much to the annoyance of the massed City supporters behind the goal.
As time began to run out City had a penalty appeal turned down re-igniting the supporters' protests.
With time running out City were becoming more desperate. Roberts took a throw and lobbed the ball into the box where it bounced between defenders and attackers before Bentley managed to get a foot in and bundle it into the net for the equaliser in the 94th minute (97th on some people's watches).
Extra time saw both teams show an anxiety not to lose and as a consequence the match became rather stilted. Bentley shot over the bar and Dunn had a powerful shot well saved before Bentley put in another shot which was also well saved.
City's defence again played well with Luke Dempsey in particular having a storming game winning header after header and Dominic Cope supporting him well. The midfield with Hubbard and Jaimie Thoroughgood challenging every ball and Mason foraging forward, City were on top.
The second half of extra time saw Robinson put a shot over the bar and a combination of Glasspool and Bentley saw the latter head wide.
With no further score the cup was decided in the lottery of the dreaded penalty shoot out.
City went two-up when Bentley and Mason putt the first two penalties away and a save from Barfoot and a miss by Whitchurch edged City ahead. Unfortunately City's third penalty was saved and Whitchurch's third was converted. - City 2 – Whitchurch 1.
City's fourth penalty was scored by Dunn as was Whitchurch's – City 3 - Whitchurch 2.
The last City penalty was taken by Hubbard who could win the Cup or let Whitchurch back in the hunt. He took the perfect spot kick but before the City supporters could cheer the win the ball appeared behind the net. Some thought the ball had hit the outside of the side netting but the Referee had no hesitation in awarding the goal. Subsequent investigation proved that the power of the shot had uprooted a net peg allowing the ball to escape after crossing the line. Winchester 4 – Whitchurch 2.
The cup and winners medals were presented by Mike Davis the Chairman of the North Hants Divisional Football Association.
This was Winchester City's fourth North Hants Senior Cup with other wins in 1982, 1987 and 2002.
City: Gareth Barfoot, Ryan Holloway, Dominic Cope, Micky Hubbard, Jaimie Thoroughgood, Luke Dempsey, Adam Roberts, Stuart Green, Zach Glasspool, Warren Bentley, Charlie Smeeton, Danilo Cadete, Adam Tomasso, Chris Mason, Liam Robinson and Geoff Dunn.