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WILTSHIRE SENIOR CUP FINAL: Bemerton Heath Harlequins 1 Calne Town 2

CALNE Town lifted the Wiltshire Senior Cup earlier today after they battled to a narrow victory over Wessex League giants Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Two first-half goals were enough to see Jeff Roberts and Drew Youngsam’s Lilywhites crowned champions of the county cup at Chippenham Town’s Hardenhuish Park ground but their celebrations after the final whistle were marred by an ugly brawl that broke out between players from both sides.

Calne’s afternoon got off to the perfect start as they were awarded a penalty kick less than a minute into the final.

Tyler Sibbick beat the offside trap and raced towards goal but as he looked to set himself for the shot, the striker went down under the challenge of Bemerton’s Graham Mankin, with the referee wasting no time in pointing to the spot.

Once the protests against the decision had been waved away, Sibbick stepped up and sent keeper Fred Toomer the wrong way to give his side an early lead.

At the other end, Town keeper Steve Allison saved well at close range from Jack Slade before Calne doubled their lead 20 minutes in.

After the ball broke to Sibbick in the box, he showed some smart close control to evade the attentions of a host of Bemerton defenders.

The Lilywhites striker eventually laid the ball off to his strike partner Levi Cox, who arrived just inside the area and blasted an unstoppable strike into the top right-hand corner.

As the half wore on, Alex Rigley and Sibbick had efforts saved while, at the other end, Allison held on to Slade’s header and saved well from Joe Sawyer’s snapshot.

But with six minutes of the half remaining, the Harlequins got themselves back into the game.

Winger Jack Eves drove inside from the left flank and his drilled ball into the box was turned into the net but Danny Young to half the deficit.

Calne did create a great chance to restore their two goal lead just before the break but defender Craig Kent poked an effort over from inside the area.

Bemerton grew back into the game in the second period and forced the Lilywhites into some stout defending to hold on to their lead.

Neil Williams, Sawyer and Eves all brought saves out of Allison, while Dan Lardner went close for Calne with a long-range strike.

With ten minutes to go, a desperate last-ditch block prevented Town from making the game safe.

Sibbick drove forward with the ball on the counter-attack and played in Cox, who in turn laid the ball into the path of substitute Kyle Rigley in the area, but his finish towards an open goal was deflected away by a scrambling Bemerton defender.

Allison had to produce a smart double save to keep out the Harlequins and in the 90th minute, any chance of an equaliser went begging when Sawyer spooned his shot wide after being put through on goal by Young.

The final whistle brought about delirious celebrations from the Lilywhites but they were quickly brought to a halt when keeper Allison clashed with a number of Bemerton players on his way back across the pitch.

The ensuing brawl saw punches thrown by players on both sides but the melee was soon calmed down and Calne went back to celebrating their cup win.


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