Chalford Reserves win Presidents Cup after six goal thriller with Painswick


Chalford Reserves lifted the Stroud League Presidents Cup on Thursday night, following a win on penalties after a 3-3 draw with Painswick.

It was 1st vs 6th from Stroud Division One at Meadowbank and it was the lower ranked side who settled quickest, with George Parker breaking the deadlock on eight minutes.

Two goals just after half time saw Painswick flip the final on it’s head, with Benji Cronin levelling before substitute Josh Cleveland put his side ahead.

But two goals in five minutes saw Chalford regain the lead with 15 minutes to go, with Toby Millicheap looping in a header before Kieran Miller fired home at the back post.

However, just as the game looked to be slipping away from the Stroud League Champions, Cleveland toe poked home an equaliser in the 97th minute to send us to penalties.

Painswick would go on to miss three of their four penalites, with Chalford keeper Sam Neale saving from Jordan Hutchinson, before Ben Tyndall skied his spot kick and Craig Cambridge hit the post to seal the deal for Chalford.

Ryan Couling, Joey Freeman and Man of the Match, Parker, netted confidently to start the celebrations for Andy Bunn’s side.

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The game started with both sides eager to grab the initiative, with Myles Cooper firing wide from a good position for Painswick on 3 minutes.

But five minutes later, Chalford went ahead. A neat through ball allowed Parker a yard of space in the box, the young forward took the ball in his stride and slid his effort past Josh Fowler.

Parker nearly set up Miller for a second just before the half hour mark, but great defending at the back post saw the ball cleared off the line.

Benji Cronin looked the most likely for Painswick, but he had an effort saved by Neale, before flashing a ball across goal – however no one had gambled for a tap in!

Cronin didn’t have to wait too long after the half time interval to get his goal, though. A nice, neat move from Painswick ended with the ball played across the edge of the box and Cronin took a touch before drilling into the bottom corner.

Painswick grabbed the lead seven minutes later, with a quick break from a Chalford corner. Cronin was involved again, but a pass through to Josh Cleveland saw the winger slot past Neale with ease.

Painswick’s best spell was the first 25 minutes or so of the second half. Chalford were frustrated, with captain Ryan Couling’s sin bin the epitome of that.

Bunn introduced Toby Millicheap off the bench and, for me, he changed the game completely.

Millicheap began to get his side further up the pitch, won tackles in the midfield and ultimately levelled the contest.

He was allowed a free header from a corner and after Fowler made an initial save, Millicheap looped the follow up header in at the far post.

Chalford then went back in front with just under 15 minutes left when Kieran Miller volleyed home at the back post after the ball ricocheted off George Parker.

But Painswick didn’t give up and got their rewards in the 7th minute of stoppage time, as Josh Cleveland fired home after Chalford failed to clear a ball into the box.

Chalford just about edged the game over the 90 minutes and will feel they deservedly went on to lift the cup after the shoot-out – but both sides showed respect for the other during the post-match presentations.

Painswick will move into the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League for the 2024/25 season and will look to settle into their new level next term.

Painswick: Fowler, Tyndall, WIlliams, Goodman, Chapman, Willett, Cambridge, Cooper, Creed, Cronin, Fawlk

Subs: Porter, Dee, Hutchinson, Cleveland, Ewers

Chalford Reserves: Neale, Syrett, Bray, Fawcett, Freeman, Miller, Sessions, Lewis, Couling, Wootten, Parker

Subs: Davis, Cooke, Hodges, Stone, Millicheap

C Martin Roofing Man of the Match – George Parker (Chalford Reserves)

Cover photo taken by and copyright to Brian Rossiter. Check out his Flickr account for all of his pictures by clicking here

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