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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Furness Rovers Royals crowned as champions

FURNESS Rovers Royals completed a memorable treble after a gutsy win over Walney Island Blues at Holker Street.

Having already jointly-claimed the league crown with Walney and won the FA Youth Cup a week before, the Royals were made to work hard to add the KO Cup to their trophy cabinet.

Rovers went on the attack from the outset and in the first five minutes pinned Walney in their own half.

A great through ball by Jack Chetham put the Walney defence under pressure and David Cook capitalised on the opportunity to place the ball in the far corner of the net, taking his goals tally to 62 for the season.

Walney regrouped and started to exert pressure, with midfield trio Elliott Stockdale, Elliott Bibby and Finlay Edwards in control in the middle of the park and pacy winger Joe Hayes having great success down the left.

A great ball out of the Walney defence by Jack Chorley found Hayes and his intelligent flick moved the ball quickly to striker and captain Reece Speake.

Speake controlled the ball and played it through for strike partner Robbie Bell, who out-muscled the Rovers centre-half and was clean through on goal only to see Rovers keeper Will Henley pull off an excellent save when one-on-one.

At the other end, Ryan Fagan had a great opportunity to increase the Rovers lead, but was foiled by Walney keeper Kane Kendall, while centre-half Will Bartlett was outstanding for the Blues.

In the second half, Walney battled well and played some good football, but the Royals defence, marshalled brilliantly by inspirational captain Brandon Allinson, held firm.

In midfield, Rovers man Tyler Wood was tackling everything in sight and both teams cancelled each other out.

Walney pushed forward and Chorley went on a mazy run, beating four defenders before being brought down just outside the area.

The resulting free-kick was the catalyst for the Walney equaliser as Bell’s set-piece was cleared for a corner. Quick thinking from Bell and Stockdale saw Walney catch Rovers napping with a short corner and Stockdale swung in a great cross which left winger Hayes met with a looping shot over a stranded Henley.

The Islanders now applied pressure to Royals and only another great save by Henley kept the scoreline level with a stop from Chorley.

With five minutes remaining, the Royals won a free-kick 20 yards out and Jack Stoker brilliantly placed the ball into the far corner, making it 2-1.

Walney went all out for another equaliser, but they could not get through Rovers’ stubborn defence.

The league champions nearly added a third when Fagan chipped the ball brilliantly over the keeper, only to see it go agonisingly wide of the post.

The Royals looked the most likely to score the next goal and deserved their narrow win.

Rovers coach Graeme Allinson said: “It was a difficult game and both teams worked hard.

“We knew it was going to be difficult, as we played them only two weeks ago when we knocked them out of the FA Cup.

“We knew they would be out for revenge and they made it hard for us to play our normal, quick passing game, but I feel we deserved the win. I’m pleased for all our lads. We are a relatively new team and to be joint-league winners, FA Cup winners and now Knockout Cup winners is nothing less than they deserve.”

Walney would like to thank their main sponsor, Ferroli Service Care, for providing this season’s playing kit.


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