Crusaders Nottingham v Newark Town FC
By Francis Towndrow
Magnificent Newark Win Notts Senior Cup
''Magnificent Newark Town FC''
Probably Newark’s best ever performance. Even possibly better than, as a then, Second Division side, two seasons ago, when they beat Premier League Wheatsheaf United in the quarter finals of the Willie Hall Cup, who were at that time holders of that trophy, 7-1 or later in that same competition defeating RHP in the semi-final 6-1. This team performance even surpassed last season’s Notts Junior Cup Final 3-0 win in Mansfield. Not a great performance because of the significance of the actual competition, the most prestigious in Sunday football across the county, but purely in the manner in which the team actually played together strategically, individually so skilfully and with both a good discipline and high work-rate.
We had been informed, by those in Nottingham, in the know, that Crusaders from Clifton, who had won so convincingly the Nottingham Premier League, that they were favourites, as not only were they a good team, who were said to have some individuals who play at a high level of Saturday football but also they played home games at the University on a 3g surface the same type of pitch as was this final at Basford United’s ground, whilst several of the Town’s players had never played a game on such a surface. Of course reality proved, if players use individual ball skills to beat players as Town do and did, then the flatter the surface the better their game.
Midfield General, Liam Warner, scored the first goal on 15 minutes, after some excellent work from Tom Perkins down the left, he proved to be a constant threat, a thorn in Crusaders side. After beating his man not only once but twice he put in an inch perfect cross onto the penalty-spot, after a twenty yard forward run Liam Warner powerfully headed the ball into the net from 3 yards out 0-1.
Newark’s second goal came on 29 minutes from their main attacking threat Tom Perkins. Man of the Match Simon Greenfield 37 looking 23 years, played a deep centre midfield role and released a diagonal pass from within his own half that found Perkins, he beat his marker before beating the keeper and from a tight angle firing home number two 0-2. Two years ago, someone predicted that Tom Perkins was potentially one of the best to be found in local football on Thursday evening under the floodlights at Basford United Tom proved he is was one of the best in Nottinghamshire.
Crusaders, played with two powerful central strikers. Scott Litchfield known as the ‘’Tank’’ and a consummate ‘’striker’’ a record breaker, when it comes to goal scoring, apparently this season alone has notched 54 goals in just twenty eight appearance, equalling his own NSL record. Newark’s defence captained by Captain Luke Parson and assisted by the marshaling Joe Braitwaite seemed to relish not just the challenge but also the occasion. Often assisted by Simon Greenfield winning all loose balls and calmly passing out of defence and also two excellent full-backs Lewis Poole and Billy Hurst. Crusaders, had a strong attacking force but they were duly suppressed by a well organised and strong Town defence that acted as a seamless cohesive unit.
For the second, half Simon Greenfield, was asked to mark Crusaders no 4 who had been creating for his side. Simon, stuck to that task superbly allowing Town more time with the ball that initiated several goal scoring opportunities.
Liam Abel, found himself one-on-one with the last line of defence which he twisted and turned the last defender before unleashing a good strike which the keeper made a good save.
On the 63 minute a forward pass down the middle found centre forward Jimmy Rusby pushing the ball forward the keeper came out of his goal Jimmy Rusby neatly round the keeper and coolly finished from 5 yards, making it 0-3.
The last 25 minutes seemed to last an eternity and there were many calls made to the match officials asking ‘’how long is left’’
With five remaining Crusaders were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position twenty yards out but some clever defensive wall positioning by Anthony Richardson Newark’s keeper gave little view for a shot, that when released was over the bar.
After 4 minutes of extra time and the whistle, delirium in the Newark ranks followed without the normally associated fever or intoxication – that followed later!
To win the highest achievable trophy played for by Sunday teams across the County in not just a great victory for the Club of Newark Town FC in 150 year since formation celebrations but also for the town of Newark itself.
Previous winners of the Notts Senior Cup include Hoval Farrar in 1984 and RHP in 2009. It has been however 102 years since a Newark Town side have won a Senior County Cup, in 1906, the Notts Senior Saturday Cup.
Thanks to all of the Newark Referees and others from the town who traveled and supported the side that evening. Talking to them after this game they suggested that they were suitably impressed by the quality of this team performance.
Can the team now win the treble, with the Premier League title and then the Willie Hall Cup, in its 50th year?
Well done Newark. Up the Blues.