Sam’s Section: Corsham and Stratford victorious in dramatic Hellenic Finals double-header


It’s the final Sam’s Section of the season and I reflect on a mouth-watering day of Hellenic League Finals which saw FC Stratford and Corsham Town walk away winners.

Monday saw Slimbridge’s Thornhill Park play host to the Marsh Challenge Cup and Supplementary Cup Finals.

Hellenic League Div One side, FC Stratford shot themselves in the foot after taking the lead requiring penalties to beat Division Two West side, University of Bristol and clinch the Supplementary Cup.

Later in the day it was an all-Hellenic League Premier tie in the Challenge Cup as Corsham produced an incredible comeback to force penalties against Worcester City.

FC Stratford 2-2 University of Bristol (Stratford win 4-2 on penalties)

Stratford opened the Finals Day by adding a second trophy to their cabinet this season after already lifting the Birmingham FA Floodlit Cup earlier in the season.

But it was Bristol who took a deserved lead on 20 minutes when Alec Holifield was picked out in the area to coolly volley home from close range.

Stratford found a way back into the game thanks to an own goal that needed goal line technology (or the linesman) to deem over the line on 35 minutes.

After being gifted a way back into the game, Stratford worked their way Infront as Dan Atkins fed through Mason Platts to round the ‘keeper and roll home on 62 minutes.

That lead lasted just five minutes as a loose pass around the Stratford defence was pounced on by George Stuart who gratefully found an empty net, sending the game to penalties.

Stratford’s Callum Monaghan produced two vital shoot-out stops setting captain Kian Hamer on his way to secure the trophy with his decisive kick.

Player of the Match- Dan Atkins (FC Stratford)

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Worcester City 2-2 Corsham Town (Corsham win 4-2 on penalties)

After a missing out on promotion Corsham claimed their first piece of silverware this season with an inspired second half performance.

It was an eventful first half but more off the pitch then on it as an issue outside the ground arose which involved cars blocking in a horse carriage.

This saw a slight stop to play as the driver stormed the pitch trying to get those involved to move, with little success.

But shortly after that Worcester took the lead through a Calvin Dinsley header which saw Thornhill Park erupt.

Worcester doubled their lead and looked in control just before the hour mark, again from a corner, as Elliott Hartley headed home at the near post.

But Corsham tried to make a game of it when Kye Simpson was slipped through on goal before calmly sending a low effort past Haydn Whitcombe on 65 minutes. 

That goal inspired Corsham and on 80 minutes completed the comeback when, at the second time of asking, Dean Griffiths poked home forcing penalties.

There was one more twist before penalties as deep in stoppage time Worcester were reduced to 10-men after Taylor Townsend’s rash challenge.

Worcester’s afternoon was summed up during the shootout hitting the post and having a spot kick saved whilst Corsham went perfect to get their hands on the trophy.

Player of the Match- Dean Griffiths (Corsham Town)

After hosting such a successful day that saw hundreds enjoy the cup final delights, I spoke to Slimbridge Co-Chairman Colin Hamish on a proud day for his club.

“It was a fantastic day all around. As a small club we need the finances, so we’re very fortunate we’ve been able to host today.

“It meant a lot to us that we were chosen to host. We have some fantastic volunteers and without them we wouldn’t have got through today.

“Fans today came up and said, ‘it’s a pity we’re not playing you next season’ and ‘any chance of a preseason friendly’ because it’s been their favourite ground.

“This is a testament to all our committee and volunteers that we were able to do all of this today.”

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