CCL Gill Cup Final

Caldicot Castle A 5 Iscoed Tafarn 4

A LATE, late goal by Steve Edwards sealed victory as Caldicot Castle A retained the CCL Gill Cup - but they rode their luck, writes Bob Cypher.

With extra time looming, a long throw to the near post was flicked on by Sean Marsh for Edwards to score at the far post.

It was only the second time Castle had led in the nine-goal thriller having taken the lead early on through Joe O’Brien but then seen that lead crumble as Iscoed scored three goals, two for Callum Ford and one for Kyle Harrison.

But this Castle team is resilient and prompted by Man of the Match skipper Craig McCluskey, they clawed themselves back into the match towards the end of the first half when O’Brien’s 20 yard fizzer was only parried by Tafarn keeper Will Hobbs and fell nicely for Rick Woodland to fire home as the ball rolled free.

The setback only seemed to spur on Tafarn because early in the second half Josh Codd put them 4-2 ahead and with Jamie Green and Ben Rice in fine form in defence, the prospect of their opponents scoring three times seemed unlikely.

But Castle never gave up and with McCluskey covering just about every blade of grass, Castle cut the deficit again with a bit of luck.

McCluskey’s free kick from out on the left appeared to evade everyone and Hobbs, diving to his left could only push the ball onto the post and was unable to stop it hitting him and crossing the line.

Still a goal adrift, Castle pushed on and McCluskey levelled the score with almost an identical free kick from a similar position and once again it eluded Hobbs and went in off the far post.

Tafarn still pushed forward and had Castle keeper Dave Hayward back-pedalling after his clearance from a back pass struck the on-rushing Codd and bounced agonisingly wide of the goal.

It was all set-up for extra time but Edwards had different ideas!

Although very disappointed, Tafarn boss Ashley Edinborough said he was proud of his men.

“I am massively proud of my young squad who will be back better and stronger next season and fair play to Castle who fought like a true team after going two goals behind twice.

“I have no complaints about officials during the game as they can only give what they see.

“Sometimes you get the luck, other times you don't and on this occasion it just wasn't meant to be.”

Castle player-manager O’Brien praised Tafarn for their determination.

“Fair play to Iscoed, they didn't let us rest at the back and through sheer determination they got level.

“The momentum got them 2-1 up from a corner when we were caught sleeping and at 3-1 down we had a mountain to climb.

“But after Craig’s two great free kicks we dominated the last 10 minutes as we searched for the winner.

“Everyone is buzzing so I hope we can take this into our last three games and bring home the double.”