Wed, 25 Jul 2018
IT was silverware for Thatcham Town once again as they beat Hungerford Town 6-5 on penalties to win the Hungerford Cup.
The prestigious trophy was up for grabs for the first time since 2003, with the Crusaders being the most recent winners.
Shane Cooper-Clark gave the Kingfishers the lead from a header early in the first half, but Ramone Rose levelled the game after 20 minutes.
Both sides had their opportunities in the second half but the game was decided by a penalty shootout.
In front of around 250 supporters, the two sides were meeting for the first time since the 2011/12 season.
It was the visitors who struck first as last season's top goalscorer, Shane Cooper-Clark headed his side in front.
Cooper-Clark, who notched in 63 goals last season for Thatcham headed the ball past Andresson after an inviting cross by left-back, Castle.
The Kingfishers could have had a second soon after as Callum Parsons found Andy Jenkinson, but the former Winchester City man couldn't keep his effort under the bar.
Hungerford equalised on the 20 minute mark as full back Matt Jones sent a cross into the box before Rose slotted the loose ball past Chris Rackley.
The Crusaders went close minutes later as Rose tested Rackley from distance, but the Thatcham number one parried his shot wide.
Just before the interval, Lewis Coyle - who signed from Kidlington - linked up well with Parsons, but his effort went wide of the far post.
Hungerford went close to going ahead shortly after the break as a corner from Jones was headed at goal by a trialist.
The headed chance was cleared off the line and cleared during a scramble in the 18-yard box.
Tom Browne then almost caught out the Hungerford goalkeeper as his left-footed cross nearly found its way under the bar.
A Hungerford trialist then had an effort from distance but the hopeful chance went well wide of the Thatcham goal.
The FA Vase winners went close to finding a second as Conor Waldon had his shot deflected from a corner after a stunning long ball from Mark Hughes.
From the resulting corner, Lamin Sankoh had his effort cleared away from goal.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Alex Fragata headed just over from close range as he found space inside the visitors box.
Sankoh almost won it for the visitors as his half-volley attempt from distance went just wide of the post.
The chance for Thatcham was the final attempt in normal time as penalties were required to decide who would be crowned Hungerford Cup winners.
All 10 kicks were converted during the normal stage, but a Hungerford trialist fired his kick over the bar to give Thatcham the advantage.
It was left to Kingfishers new boy Waldon to seal the win and his kick sent the Hungerford keeper the wrong way to give the Southern League side the victory.
Next up for Hungerford is a pre-season clash with Bracknell Town on Saturday, while Thatcham travel to AFC Stoneham.