For the first time in in the league's history the same 2 clubs competed in the Sunday League Cup Final in consecutive years. Queen Anne FC and Farnnworth United locked horns once again at the home of Bolton Wanderers, however there was a different outcome this year. Unlike last year, where Farnworth United ran out 4-2 winners after extra time, Queen Anne FC were able to bring the trophy home.
The defending champions, Farnworth United, got off to the best possible start as they opened the scoring within the opening 5 minutes. Queen Anne FC's defence failed to clear a low-lying cross which consequently led to Anthony Harrison poking the ball home from close range.
After a spell of sustained pressure Dean Walmsley's Queen Anne FC slowly started to edge back into the game, and the deficit was levelled on 32 minutes. After being played in behind the Farnworth defence Gaz Cunliff demonstrated great strength and determination to hold off Farnworth captain, Lance Hall, whilst cleverly placing the ball out of the keeper's reach and into bottom right hand corner.
During the second half the stereotypical Sunday League mindset and mentally was exemplified as referee, Ian Winnard, was needed to brandish his cards on more than one occasion after a few ‘ill-timed' challenges. With both sides looking evenly matched the cup tie was seemingly set to go into extra time for a consecutive year, however it required a slice of fortune for Queen Anne FC to seal the tie.
An inviting ball was played through for Queen's striker Craig Leader as he entered a race for the ball with 2 Farnworth defenders and their onrushing goalkeeper, Steven Goodridge. Luckily for the Queen's striker he arrived at the ball first and benefitted from some good luck as the ball ricocheted off the defender and then again off Goodridge which resulted in the ball looping over and eventually into the unguarded net. This prompted hysteria from the Queen Anne players and management as they savoured the occasion by having a prolonged celebration.
This set-up a nerve-wracking final 10 minutes as Queen Mary's quite literally parked the bus in order to retain their slender lead. With the fourth official indicating that there would be an additional 5 minutes of added time the defending champions threw everything at Queen Anne FC, including their goalkeeper. This was not without controversy, as the whole squad and in particular the manager, Paul Davies, thought that they had fairly equalised in the last minute, however the goal was not awarded as the lineman, Phil Newby, had not adjudged the ball to have crossed the line.
Shortly after this moment of madness referee Ian Winnard ended proceedings at the Macron which was to the joy of all Queen Anne FC players, coaching staff and family in the crowd. They had successfully avenged last year's cup final disappointment and successfully accomplished the league and cup double, after having been crowned Division 1 champions finishing 3 points ahead Morris Dancers FC.
Queen Anne's management team of Dean Walmsley and Kev Leader are attempting to win the treble this season, with another cup final at Radcliffe Borough awaiting them on May 27th.
Bolton FM radio were in charge of the PA system and expertly handled the match entertainment, with Midweek Sport host Matt Holden making the stadium announcements.
In an interview with Bolton FM after the game this is what the losing manager, Paul Davies, had to say about his team's performance.
"I think one side turned up and wanted it, the other side turned up and thought that they'd won it. Congratulations to Queen Anne, hopefully we'll be back again next year to win it back.'
"It was a bit dubious at the end there with the goal but that's football for you, at the end of the day it doesn't count now does it, they've won it."
When asked by Matt about next season's plans, Farnworth United's manager ensured him that they will be back again to reclaim the cup.
"We'll be back here again next year, let's just make sure they get that cup back"
Further reaction to Sunday's game will take place on 96.5 Bolton FM on Matt Holden's Midweek Sport show on Thursday 8-10pm, where he will be joined by member of LOVS in the studio.