9:45am Wednesday 18th April 2012
DAN Mercer's first division champions Trowbridge Wanderers failed in their bid to complete a league and cup double after they were beaten 2-0 by second division runners-up North Bradley in the final of the AM Print & Copy-sponsored A & B Cup at Melksham Town's Conigre ground on Tuesday evening.
The match never lived up to its pre-match expectations as there was lack of quality all over the park from both sides, who struggled to cope with the driving rain that kept the supporters at home, a crowd of less than a 100 people turning up to watch what was a disappointing game.
Wanderers had the first real effort of note on six minutes when Otis Young robbed Matt Coles only to find the side netting from close range.
Immediately at the other end it was Bradley's turn to go close, Dave Percival beat two defenders and fed the ball to Ryan Baggs whose shot from 16 yards flashed wide of the post.
On 10 minutes Dave Percival's quick feet took him past three defenders and only a fine save from keeper Liam Newble denied him the opening goal.
Five minutes later a mistake by Shaun Percival let in Craig Gornell, who was beaten in the race to the ball by keeper Nathan Taylor.
His clearance turned defence into attack when he found Dave Percival who slipped his marker but drew another fine save from Newble.
With neither side coming to terms with the tricky conditions, the first half was devoid of ideas with Wanderers probably missing the best chance when Young delivered a free kick into the area but Gornell could only smash his effort from eight yards out over the bar.
Prior to his effort, teammate Jordan Pinder was lucky to remain on the pitch for a stamp on Dan Crease.
The second half began a lot brighter than the first had finished.
Wanderers Sam Chettleburgh fired wide from 18 yards on 50 minutes and they looked to be getting a foothold in the game.
But they fell behind on 52 minutes when after conceding a needless free kick some 28 yards from goal.
Shaun Percival curled his shot around the wall and into the bottom corner despite the best efforts of keeper Newble, who could only help it into the net to put Bradley one up.
From the restart Wanderers' Pinder drove a blistering strike inches wide of the far post.
Dave Percival missed another good chance for Bradley before Adam Mercer almost restored parity for Wanderers but his effort was scrambled to safety by Matt Coles.
Gornell wasted another good opportunity for Wanderers which was to prove costly, on 65 minutes Bradley doubled their lead. Ashley Benison, who was playing with a cracked metatarsal, struck what appeared to be a harmless 30 yard shot which ended up in the net after a massive misjudgment by keeper Newble who believed it was going wide of the target.
On 75 minutes Bradley's keeper Taylor got down well to deny Adam Mercer and moments later he produced a great double save to deny firstly Gornell and then Young and after three smart stops he was on top form again to keep out Liam Richards.
Wanderers threw players forward looking for a way back into the game but their efforts were in vain to give Chris Carr a piece of silverware in what was his penultimate game in charge of Bradley.
Referee Andy Harding and his assistants George Parks, Andrew Evans and Graham Pearce the players and supporters of both clubs were worthy of much credit.
The trophies on the evening were presented by Matt Munro on behalf of sponsors AM Print & Copy. Benison received the Kevin Mounty memorial player of the match award.
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