JUBILANT: Evenwood Town FC with the Norman Wright Memorial Trophy
JUBILANT: Evenwood Town FC with the Norman Wright Memorial Trophy

Norman wright

Memorial trophy

Evenwood Town FC........................4

Stanhope SSC FC.............................1

IF you like your footballing cliches, this was the match for you. A game of two halves? Certainly.

Did Stanhope pay the penalty? Most definitely.

We even had a “worldy” – more on that later – and, of course, Evenwood Town were over the moon come the final whistle.

Having been earmarked for Tow Law, a home fixture in the Northern League a day later meant the final was switched to the familiar surrounds of Hall Lane, Willington, and a first 45 minutes after which Stanhope will wonder how the game was not out of sight.

The Weardale side took the lead on 25 minutes when a ball in from the right was not dealt with and Ryan Embling was on hand to sweep home.

Stanhope then had at least three clear opportunities to extend the lead but were thwarted at every turn by some excellent goalkeeping from Evenwood stopper Craig Hannent.

On two occasions he faced down an attacker who had slipped through unnoticed to pull off good saves.

At the other end, chances for Evenwood were few and far between, but Hannent’s efforts meant the half time deficit was just a single goal.

Evenwood were handed a way back into the match with two penalties in the first 15 minutes of the second half, the first courtesy of a clumsy challenge by the Stanhope keeper.

Gareth McMahon stepped up to fire home to the keeper’s left.

The second penalty came from a mistimed tackle inside the area – again no complaints as the ref pointed to the spot. This time McMahon belted the ball to the keeper’s right to make it 2-1.

With 15 minutes left, Alex Goundry extended the lead, nipping in when the Stanhope defence hesitated, perhaps expecting the whistle to blow for a push.

Now to the “worldy”. For a bustling striker, Gareth McMahon possesses an excellent touch and when the ball was swung in from the left, he controlled it with his chest, pivoted and volleyed home from the edge of the area in one motion.

It was a goal worthy of any cup final and completed a 4-1 win as well as giving McMahon his hat-trick.

After the final whistle blew, all that was left was for local league stalwart John Morton to present the silverware. Evenwood may need to find a bit of extra space in the trophy cabinet this season as they are still in three cups.

On Saturday, April 6, they take on Coundon Cons in the semi final of the Auckland Charity Cup to face either Willington or Stanhope in the final at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park ground on Wednesday, April 24.

The following Saturday, they face Howden Australian in the semi-final of the South Durham Charity Bowl.

Finally, they have been drawn at home to Stanhope in the first round of the Weardale Charity Cup on Saturday, April 20.