Cross Hills 4 Oxenhope 7
Over 400 fans were treated to an 11-goal roller-coaster last Friday night when a second-half spree led to Oxenhope winning the cup for the first time since 1966.
However, the West York-shire League Premier Divi-sion side were made to work hard for their victory by young and enthusiastic Craven League opponents Cross Hills, who played a full part in a thoroughly entertaining showpiece.
Underdogs Cross Hills took just five minutes to end Oxenhope’s clean- sheet record in this season’s competition when Andy North put them in front, latching onto a re-bound off keeper Nick Hudson from a Steve Brown strike.
On 18 minutes, a similar scenario saw Oxenhope level, Cross Hills keeper Lee Knox parrying a Dave Nelson shot that was chested down by Dan Moriarty, Ollie Metcalfe being on hand to tap in.
Back came Cross Hills, and on the half-hour North passed across the six-yard box and Steve Brown lash-ed the ball home.
But five minutes later, the Worth Valley side levelled with the goal of the game when Michael Gar-nett cut in from the right and brushed past two challenges before unleashing a thunderous left-foot drive into the top corner.
Cross Hills defender Steve Throupe was then in the right place to block a Nivard Trowers shot on the line before Scott Nel-son hit a rasping drive from distance that scorch-ed the bar just before the break.
Five minutes after the re-start, Oxenhope took the lead when Garnett rose powerfully to head home a pin-point Moriarty cross.
The West Yorkshire League side now started to dominate, and on the hour gained a two-goal cushion when Moriarty pulled the ball back for Dave Nelson to score.
The game looked secure but youthful Cross Hills refused to bow, and on 75 minutes hit back when Ollie Peacock hit a stunning volley from the edge of the penalty area.
Oxenhope’s two-goal ad-vantage was soon restored though when Moriarty finished confidently.
But Cross Hills sub Billy Skelton raised their hopes yet again with 12 minutes to go when he made it 5-4 after Eddie Evans capitalised on some slack defending to pull the ball back across goal. On 80 minutes, the hard-working Garnett gained his hat-trick, tucking away a Mor-iarty cross, and with two minutes left Moriarty made it seven as Cross Hills’ defence was stretch-ed.
Oxenhope’s skipper Ben White went forward to lift a trophy that Oxenhope had not held for 46 years, when they beat Keighley Central 1-0 at Lawkholme Lane.
In Oxenhope’s winning side that night was full back Ronnie Bowdin, grandfather of Oxenhope’s central defender Jason Walton.
Cross Hills: Knox, Duncan (Evans), Newton, Throupe, McCann, Jenkins (Mathews), Parkin, Peacock, North (Skelton), Brown, Storrie. Subs not used: Smith S, Smith C. Oxenhope: Hudson, Scott, Nelson S, Bentham, Walton, White (Day), Nelson D, Moriarty, Garnett, Metcalfe, Trowers (Pullan). Subs not used: Newman, Quinlan Ellis.