County Junior Cup

Crowle Colts Crowned 2024 County Junior Cup Champions

Crowle Colts won their first County Cup title since 1971 on Friday evening at Lincoln City's LNER Stadium

Crowle Colts FC have won the 2024 County Junior Cup after a 3-1 victory against Wyberton FC after two extra time goals sealed their first County Cup title since 1971. 

Gav Cooper's side came back from 1-0 down at Lincoln City FC's LNER Stadium, in what proved to be a very tight and hard fought contest which saw the full 120 minutes of football, in front of a 516 strong crowd.

Multi-time County Junior Cup champions, Wyberton, took the lead after just 7 minutes after Kieran Atkin slid in to block the Wyberton cross, but it escapes his control and Liam Ogden wastes no time in chipping the ball with the outside of his foot into the far post to send Wyberton 1-0 up. Just a matter of minutes later, "Wybo" came close to doubling their lead as a good delivery from a corner was whipped into the Crowle box and met with the head of Mackenzie Burdass, who could only manage to nod the effort narrowly wide of the post to spare Colts' blushes.

A cagey first half was played in the midfield for the majority of the game, with very few clear cut chances for either side. Crowle came close to a leveller on the 25-minute mark with a fabulous long throw into the Wyberton box was flicked on to Kieran Atkin, who's headed effort flew over the bar. Atkin's chance was shortly followed by two penalty shouts from both teams, the first of which coming from Wyberton as Oliver Drummond comes together with Jordan Welch, but to no avail for the yellows. The second shout came just a minute later, when Joe Hare went down inside the box but was again waved away by Referee, Andy Parked, who awarded the goal kick instead.

Wyberton captain, Grant Butler, floated a fantastic ball into the Crowle box around the 34-minute mark and was met by Alex Beck, but the number 9 was unable to capitalise and his header flew over Zach Beedle's goal. We ended the first half with Wyberton holding on to a 1-0 lead, but with very little other than Liam Ogden's goal to separate the two teams. 

Alex Beck came agonisingly close to doubling Wyberton's lead early on in the second half as he manages to scramble the ball out of Tom Mould's feet and poke an effort towards goal, but only managing to hit the post - letting Crowle off the hook. Just 2 minutes later, it was Crowle's turn to test the resolve of the Wyberton goalkeeper with a superb effort that was spectacularly saved by James Doughty and seen behind for a corner that was whipped into the box and nodded wide by Jordan Spencer. 

The game wore on, and time was starting to run out for the North Lincolnshire side to find a way back into the game. The 76th minute struck, and after a brilliant advantage from Referee Andy Park, up stepped Lewis Greathead to curl in a spectacular effort from 22 yards out that sent the Crowle support wild and more importantly, to give Crowle a much needed equaliser that ultimately took the number 14's side into Extra Time. 

Crowle looked the stronger of the two sides in extra time, and with momentum now with the red's, they looked the more likely to get the crucial goal that would all but secure the title. Wyberton defended well, however, and still looked a threat in the final third. Crowle came pain stakingly close to taking the lead early in the second period of extra time after Ryan Bonser deliver a spectacular curling cross towards the back post that looked all but certain to result in a goal, but Joe Hare couldn't quite get his head to the delivery and the chance went begging. County Junior Cup

Crowle didn't need a second invitation though, and when the next delivery was whipped in at the opposing post, Liam Snow was there to meet it and the number 9 nodded home to give Colts a huge goal in the 112th minute to break Wyberton hearts, who had fought so valiantly. Alex Beck fired an effort at the Crowle goal inside the area, but Zach Beedle saved and held on. With the final seconds of the game ticking away, Ryan Bonser secured the title after the number 12 was squared the ball and left one-on-one with James Doughty, before Bonser placed it into the bottom right corner of the Stacey West net and giving Crowle Colts their first County Cup title in 53 years.

Gav Cooper, Manager of Crowle Colts FC, spoke of his delight after the game: "I'm absolutely elated! After such a bad start and at half time we're having to near enough pick the lads up off the floor, I thought we was absolutely fantastic in the second half. I felt we deserved the goal and what a wonderful goal it was, and from there on in I felt we looked stronger and we looked like the team that was going to go on and win the game. 

The lads will tell you I've gone on so much this year about how important every single player is, and that proved tonight. The lads who came on made such a difference, so I'm absolutely delighted. I think we had to understand what their strengths were and what ours were, and the way we were going to have some success. I felt once we were able to connect some passes, that started to happen more and more and the longer the game went on, the stronger we looked. 

It means an awful lot for us as a club, and that's shown by the amount of people who've come out to support us. We haven't won the cup since 1971, we got to the semi's the year after and since then we haven't been anywhere near so to make the final and then achieve it is fantastic. The committee do so much hard work behind the scenes, including the work they do every match day, throughout the week - they're almost full time jobs that they don't get paid for. People like that are vital for this community cup, and i'm so proud to be the person to help lead this group of players to this title for the community.".

Crowle Colts FC's number 14, Lewis Greathead, was presented as the Player of the Match by Lincolnshire FA Area Delegate, Steve Lilley. The evening's Match Officials were Andy Park, Finn Ford, Cassey Rook, and Alistair Hayes. County Junior Cup

The full image gallery, taken by Lincolnshire FA's Official Photographer - Ed Mayes Photography - can be viewed here.

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