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Frame-rattling Crusaders lose in final

Magpies snatch victory as Hungerford hit the bar three times

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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Frame-rattling Crusaders lose in final

James Clark tries his luck against Maidenhead on Tuesday night

Hungerford Town 0 Maidenhead Utd 1

ONE defensive slip proved to be decisive as Maidenhead claimed the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup for the umpteenth time and denied Hungerford their first success in the competition since 1981.

The decisive goal came after 18 minutes when Magpies’ Christian Smith found himself alone at the near post to force home Sam Barratt’s inswinging corner, and although Hungerford enjoyed long spells of pressure, they could not find the goal their build-up play merited, despite hitting the woodwork three times.

Nicholas Bignall was the first to be denied when his shot rattled the underside of the frame before he was forced off injured amid hopes that it is not a recurrence of the injury that has afflicted his career.

With new boy Matt Partridge linking well with his fellow defenders, Hungerford looked solid at the back and limited the prolific Dave Tarpey and industrious Sean Marks to sporadic threats with Lewis Ward saving well from the latter.

Hungerford gradually got on top after the interval and one frantic spell saw four efforts blocked with Tom Meechan hitting the bar for a second time, Maidenhead’s James Conley sending a header careering against his own goal frame and goalkeeper Carl Pentney surviving penalty appeals when he pushed over Louis Soares in the box as Maids survived the late onslaught to add the county cup to the league crown they secured in May.

Hungerford Town: Ward; Tyler, Partridge, Day, Stonehouse; Clark (Herring 63), Rees, Willmoth; Soares, Bentley (Meechan 63), Bignall (Hopper 29). Subs: Jones, Beachamp.

Maidenhead Utd: Pentney; Clerina, Inman, Massey, Pritchard; Conley, Smith (Odometey 73), Mulley Upward 73), Barratt (Kilman 81); Tarpey, Marks. Subs: Clifton, McKenzie.

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