The beautiful village of Tattenhall in Cheshire
Webteam: May 2016
Tatt Vets beaten in County Cup Final
In a spirited but, by their standards, disappointing performance, Tattenhall Vets lost 3 -1 to Blacon Vets in the Cheshire West Veteran's Cup, held at Chester FC yesterday, in front of a near sell-out crowd.
Hopes were high following two recent wins against the same robust and able opposition but Tattenhall unfortunately couldn't deliver the goods for a third time. Although not something laboured by any team member, attrition to aging limbs from a heavy end of season schedule appeared to many onlookers to have played its part.
The portents were not good from very early on, with Blacon registering a fifth minute score when a free kick speculatively punted into the box was flicked on, leaving Matt Buckingham in the Tattenhall goal no chance. Tattenhall settled and narrowly missed equalising from a Tim Whitehill corner, but Blacon remained the dominant first-half force and it was only a fine save from Tattenhall stopper Buckingham and a spectacular goal line clearance from man-of-the-match Ant Rouse that stopped the lead doubling.
Key figures throughout the season, Andy Manson and Chris Woodburn, who had both started the game with significant knocks, were substituted at half time, but this didn't stop Tattenhall beginning to take the upper hand after the break, as they had done in the two previous encounters. The Blacon goal was under increasing threat but, before Tattenhall could convert, a miss-hit Blacon cross flew into the top corner of the Tattenhall goal, past a blameless Buckingham. Undeterred, Tattenhall continued to press and were rewarded with a Matt O'Sullivan wonder strike as he cut in to the edge of the opposing box onto his wrong foot and fired in a dipping thunder bolt which left the Blacon keeper rooted in stunned admiration. This heralded a Tattenhall blitzkrieg, which featured the battering of the Blacon woodwork and the refusal of two rock solid penalty shouts, all of which suggested this was not to be Tattenahall's day. And so it proved as Blacon broke the siege with 10 minutes to go and slotted their third to effectively bring the contest to an end.
Whilst this means the Vets end their first league season as the "nearly men", they should take enormous pride from their monumental efforts. Particular credit must go to player-manager Stuart Taylor who has been both the architect of and driving force behind this incredible season, ably supported by his three lieutenants, Tim Whitehill, Ant Rouse and Chris Woodburn. Although it has gone unsaid by those directly involved, this correspondent, for one, wonders how different things might have been had the Vets been able to play on the Flacca between 31st October and 16th April and thus avoided the log-jam of late-season fixtures that undoubtedly put a great deal of pressure on physiques better suited to bowls. Thankfully, for most of them, there's always next season.
Victor French (Neutral Reporter).
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