Rowbarton Cup Final
Locomotives 1, Sampford Blues 2
SAMPFORD Blues pulled off a cup final shock as they came from behind to beat Locomotives at Wordsworth Drive.
Luke Walsh fired Locos ahead on 20 minutes when his shot was deflected past Blues’ ’keeper Luke Vernon.
But the Blues fought back courtesy of goals from Luke Perry and Craig Lawrence to give them a half-time lead.
Vernon in the Sampford goal was impressive all afternoon and kept Locos at bay throughout the second half, as the Blues bounced back from two league defeats to the same opposition to secure the silverware.
Sampford manager Sean Buttle said: “Overall, we edged it on the day. The players’ commitment to play a high tempo, high energy game was excellent and stopped them from settling into any pattern of play.
“We knew with our abundance of pace we would create chances and so it proved. The whole squad’s commitment was excellent – we were deserved winners in my opinion.”
The Blues, with the wind in their favour, gradually began to build attacking phases before Locos took the lead with a defected shot from the edge of the penalty area from Walsh that beat Blues ’keeper Vernon.
Locos were foiled by a Vernon save a few minutes later, with the Blues now having to increase their activity on and off the ball to take the game to Locos.
Central midfield duo Mitch Woodgate and Paul Pocock put in some sterling work to set the foundation, as the Blues began to build momentum and ask questions of the opposition defence.
A pinpoint pass from Pocock set league top scorer Perry free on 44 minutes and he showed composure to place the ball past the oncoming ’keeper to draw Sampford level.
Straight from the kick-off, the Blues regained the ball and fellow striker Lawrence released a thumping shot from the edge of the penalty area that flew inside the top corner, to send the Blues into the lead.
Now playing with the wind, Locos pressed for an equaliser but were thwarted by the Blues backline, led by captain Nigel Letton – and that theme continued until the final whistle, with the Blues holding on for a memorable cup win.
Locos assistant manager Steve Weaver was disappointed with his side’s performance and cited ‘overconfidence’ as a major factor in the defeat.
He said: “We didn’t get well up for the game at all. I think we thought because we had beaten them three times already this season, it was going to be a stroll in the park.
“The wind was a big factor in the game as well but I think we were a bit over-confident.
“It hasn’t been a bad season for us, runners-up in the league and cup, but it hasn’t been a great one either.”