FOOTBALL: 100th Village Trophy final decided on penalties

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Lincoln Moorland Railway Sports Club kindly hosted the 100th holding of the Village Trophy final which was introduced to the Lincoln League in 1905.

Although it is 111 years ago, the competition was not play during the two wars. This season saw two clubs appear in the final for the very first, namely Ruskington Rovers and Plough Inn, making it 35 different village teams having contested the final.

Nothing could separate the two sides after 90 minutes plus extra time with the match tied at 1-1. Tom Keels scored for Ruskington and Martin Waplington for Railway. Then Railway Inn won the game after a penalty shoot-out, making them the 29th different sides to lift the trophy.

Then at the weekend, the morning opened with snow on the ground and the day got crazier with no less than 33 goals scored in the four matches played.

One match saw three hat-tricks and two of the others one hat-trick apiece. It also saw the highest aggregate score in a match played this season with 15.

League leaders Horncastle Town Reserves should have entertained Fulbeck United in their penultimate game but this match was postponed on Saturday.

This left the other two title contenders, Birchwood United and Cherry Willingham, the opportunity to close the gap.

Second placed Birchwood certainly did this in emphatic fashion aa they played bottom side Saxilby Athletic in two 60 minute matches. The first resulted in a 10-0 victory for the city side with Liam Wright getting four, Paul Nicholson two (his 16th goal of the season) and one apiece from Danny Kent, Grant Foster, Tom Hill and Ash Woodhall. Then a league double was completed in the second match with a 4-0 win with two goals apiece from Luke Osborne and Danny Kent (his 12th goal of the season).

The six points picked up took Birchwood to the head of the tale, a position one can anticipate they will now retain to the end of the season to lift the title.

While Birchwood were running in 14 goals, the game at third placed Cherry Willingham, where AFC Crown and Arrows were the visitors, produced 15 goals. In the end, Cherry ran out 10-5 winners with Joe Ayres scoring four, Brendan Foster-Matthieson three (his 22nd goal of the season), Liam Lynch one and Jordan Curtis one. Crown and Arrows scorers were Liam Bentley with three (his 12th goal of the season) and Danny Bee two (his 16th goal of the season).

Birchwood now lead the table by two points from Horncastle with two games in hand, while Cherry are two points behind Horncastle, also with two games in hand.

The final game saw Ruston Sports host Village Trophy winners Railway Inn. The euphoria of lifting their first piece of silverware saw Railway slip to a 4-0 defeat as Rustons completed a league double. Their goals came with a hat-trick from Sam Joyce and one from Harry Melady.

Victory for Rustons lifted them to fourth but they have played four games more than Fulbeck United, whom they went above.

This week sees the third final of the season, again hosted kindly by Lincoln Moorland Railway Sports and Social Club. This final is the Challenge Cup, on Thursday (7.30pm KO) with Birchwood United and Fulbeck United again in opposition.

The city side, without doubt, will be seeking to avenge their earlier defeat in the Amateur Cup, when Fulbeck were victorious. If you can make it please turn up and give your support.