TROWBRIDGE-based Lavis FC side came from behind to defeat Devizes The Castle FC 4-1in the final of this season’s RP Clarke Sheds & Fencing sponsored WG Parr Trophy.

In what was the first half of the league’s double header of Cup Finals at the Lye, Seend, the victory was even sweeter for Aaron Latchem’s men because it was achieved in front of the family of the late Pete Lavis who the team was formed in memory of.

With Pete’s wife, Diane, as well as son Mike and daughter Sarah watching on, Lavis made a nervous start to the game but almost went ahead in the ninth minute when a Mark Maguire free-kick flew inches wide of the target. Midway through the half Castle’s Joe Unsworth skied an attempted clearance that had his 'keeper Adam Walters back-peddling before pushing the ball over the bar and to safety.

In the 35th minute, Chris Allen blasted Castle’s best chance over the bar before Liam Hill’s shot failed to test Lavis keeper Nick Mead. As the first half drew to a close, it was Castle who were finishing it the stronger as Gary Campbell’s effort was gathered easily by 'keeper Mead.

Both Dan Jones and Jordan Pinder had good chances to put Lavis ahead early in the second half, but it was Castle who made the breakthrough when Gary Campbell turned the ball home following a great stop by keep Mead who was unable to keep out the rebound.

Lavis restored parity on the hour mark after an Ashton Shanley free-kick crept over the line after keeper Walters failed to deal with his 20-yard strike. Both teams tried in vain to find a winner in normal time with Shanley going closest for Lavis and substitute Jack Fisher wasting a very good chance for the Castle.

With the game in extra time, Lavis upped the pace and Castle ran out of steam. Jack Sterling pounced on a defensive error to turn the ball home to put Lavis 2-1 in front. With their noses in front, Lavis turned the screw and made it 3-1 in the 117th minute, Jack Booth finding the target. And after Jordan Pinder blasted over for Lavis, Dan Jones put the icing on the cake, when his coolly taken goal sealing their 4-1 success.

Under strict Covid-19 rules, the winning players picked up their individual awards and captain Darren Jones was on hand to lift the cup. The player of the match gong went to Ashton Shanley.

Both teams played the game in an excellent sporting manner, which made life easier for referee Chris Baker and his team of Kevin Hopkins, Adam Bewley and George Lynch who all had an excellent game.

Rock solid Melksham win Knockout Cup

Dave Jenkins who took over the reins as AFC Melksham at the end of last season has guided his team to their first piece of silverware since they won the Premier division title under Mike Rogers in 2016. Melksham had to be at their best to see off the challenge from second division hotshots FC Devizes United and they were just that as an excellent all-round performance inspired in defence by Jaiden Pearce, Alex De Silva and keeper Adam Dhinsa led them to a well-deserved 3-0 success as they lifted the A M Print & Copy sponsored Knockout for the first time.

In front of a buzzing and vocal crowd at the Lye, Seend, Melksham made the livelier start with Jordan Kirk and Ian Jeffery going close in the opening stages before FC Devizes got a foothold in the game and started to make a contest of things. Melksham’s keeper Adam Dhinsa had to be alert to deny Jay Walters and only an incredibly timed challenge from Jaiden Pearce stopped Gabe Costello from scoring what looked to be the opening goal. Pearce was at it again as he put his body on the line to deny Walters a second bite of the cherry.

With half chances coming and going for both teams, neither were able to make the breakthrough in what was at times a feisty but entertaining first 45 minutes.

The second half was 7 minutes old when FC Devizes were awarded a penalty, up stepped Jay Walters hoping to put the division two side in front, but Melksham’s keeper Dhinsa was equal to his excellent strike as he produced an outstanding stop to keep the score goalless. Devizes had the bit between their teeth and only a great goal line clearance from Sam Tallis denied Dan Skinner from making it 1-0.

Having survived two quick-fire scares Melksham upped their game and took control of things and not long after substitute Dan Broom fired home from 20 yards to give Melksham the lead. At the other end Matt Swan fired wide of the target for the Castle and Oscar Webster fired in the safe hands of Dhinsa and that was the closest Devizes were to get as with 10 minutes remaining a great finish from Seth Wain doubled Melksham’s advantage.

Although, FC Devizes never gave up any thoughts of a late fightback were ended by Ryan Baggs who pounced on a misguided Luke Enderby header to calmly plant the ball beyond keeper Evan Webster to seal what in the end was great 3-0 triumph for Dave Jenkins men.

Under strict Covid19 rules the winning players picked up their individual awards and captain Jordan Kirk lifted the cup for the winners. The player of the match justifiably went to 19 year old Jaiden Pearce who was outstanding from the first to final whistle.

Referee Chris Jones and his team of James Newbon, Dave Kemmery and Sam Gooding who were on top form as they kept the game flowing and all 22 players on the pitch in a match that could easily have boiled over at times.

Beeches & FC Pilot reach Sub Cup Final

First Division, Beeches will be massive underdogs when then take on Premier Division, FC Pilot in the final of the Gooding Accounts sponsored Subsidiary Cup next weekend. Beeches reached what will be their first ever final after defeating Sutton Benger 6-3, while Pilot beat top flight stable mates Corsham Wildcats 4-1 to book their place at New Road, Bromham next weekend.

A competitive first half at the Beeches, Shaw saw Andy Anderson’s hosts fall behind to a wonderfully worked goal, Greg Bell’s ball down the left found Ethan Jones whose one touch pass to Craig Askew resulted in a first time half volley which found the bottom corner from 25 yards.

The hosts were level shortly after with a lovely move of their own Mark Young’s from the left hand side was tucked away by Drew Adams. Beeches then got their noses in front when a deep cross from Jono Hogarth was spilled by Dan Hughes and the ball bounced around and was deflected in by Alex Bell for an unfortunate own goal.

After the restart, it was Beeches who took a firm grip on the match making it 4-1 through Steve Ball and Lee Causon’s thunderbolt. Benger rallied and pulled a goal back from a corner that saw the ball land at the feet of Alex Bell who from 18 yards out managed to squeeze the ball into the bottom corner and it was game on when a free kick from Dan Hughes from inside their own half saw Alex Bell rise highest to power a bullet header into the net for 4-3.

The turning point came midway through the second half when the referee awarded a free kick for a seemingly nothing challenge and after consulting with his linesman, a penalty was awarded much to the annoyance of the Benger team. Steve Ball tucked home the spot kick despite a great effort from Dan Hughes who got a hand to well taken penalty to make it 5-3 and with Benger pushing forward looking for a way back into the game they were caught on the break with Steve Ball completing his hat trick to ensure Beeches booked their place in next week’s final.

Beeches also hit the woodwork 3 times in what manager Anderson said was a well-balanced end to end game and that he was really proud of his team and the togetherness they showed in what was a really tough game.

Corsham Wildcats 1 Pilot 4

Pilot FC will be huge favourites to beat Beeches next weekend, especially after seeing off the challenge of top flight stable mates Corsham Wildcats who were left to rue what could have been after a poor refereeing decision went against them on their way to a 4-1 loss which manager Darrin Moss believes could have been different had Pilot not taken the lead from a highly controversial penalty.

Having been awarded what even Pilot though was a dubious penalty, Rhys Talmash duly buried the spot kick to put Pilot 1-0 ahead and to give them a half time lead.

Corsham hit back just after the hour mark when Adam Mitchell headed home a pin point cross. In an end to end game Pilot saw a Danny Harrison effort disallowed and Wildcats go close to taking the lead when a thumping strike from Will Stead rattled the upright.

Pilot eventually regained the lead when Tom Blackman followed up to head home a Talmash strike that had struck the bar. Talmash again hit the bar but on this occasion his rasping effort crept over the line to make it 3-1. It was no surprise that with his sights set on another hat trick, Talmash duly obliged as he fired home his third of the morning to seal Pilot’s 4-1 success and their place in next Sunday’s final that kicks-off at 10.45 at New Road, Bromham.