Established 1973

The Recreation Ground, Pirton, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 3PX

Cup Finals - Lea Sports teams have appeared in no fewer than 29 Cup Finals, but we lost the first 5 and it wasn't until April 1996 that the Fourth Team brought home the silverware by beating Woodlands Social 2-1.


1. 4th April 1976    1st XI vs. United Counties   1-2

      Bedfordshire Lower Junior Cup Final





2. 2nd May 1993  3rd XI vs. Norman King  0-2

     Luton Sunday League Steve Smith Trophy Final     (No relation!)

The Third Team's first Cup Final appearance came in May 1993 on a barren pitch at 61 FC, Kingsway Luton against League Champions Norman King who had dropped just one point all season. Despite the line-up being strengthened by appearances from Russell Sheppard and Kevin Connolly, Norman King proved too strong and ran out 2-0 winners.
Back row: Kelvin Callow, Hugh Byrne, Steve Goldsmith, Rod Borlase, Mark Turner, Bobby McGrath, Pete Conquest, Paul Robson, Andy Bownes

Front row: Dave Bateson, Dave Blake, Steve Baggett, Kevin Connolly, Russell Sheppard  (and mascot Chris Smith)

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3. 25th April 1994   4th XI vs. Hightown 0-1

      Luton Sunday League Invitation Cup Final

In only their second league season, and despite finishing 7th in Division 2, the Fourth Team made it through to the Final of the Invitation Cup against First Division Hightown at St.Albans City. Top scorer Sandy Muir went AWOL just before the game (rumours had it that he was working 'somewhere on the M25') and we knew it would be tough. In the end, a moment of madness by keeper Brendan Barr gave away the penalty which would decide the game. Laurence Freed, however, had made his name as a Manager and the supporters who all went on the coach to St.Albans had a great night out.

Left:  The team collect their medals after the match.
  Right:  Laurence Freed samples the bath after the game.

Below: Matt Borg receives his runners-up medal from 'celebrity' Luther Blissett.

Back row: Laurence Freed, Paul 'Four-cans' Robson, Paul Jenkins, Andy Bownes, Graham Carter, Andy 'Strawman' Sheridan, Dave Malvern, ?, Kevin Knight, Stewart Jenner, Ben Quince

Front row: Darren Groom, Steve Grimes, Brendan Barr, Steve Middleton, Matt Borg, Wayne Groom

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4. 23rd April 1995   2nd XI vs. Rising Sun Potton  0-0  (4-5 penalties)

Bedfordshire Centenary Cup Final

Laurence Freed continued his managerial career by taking his superb Reserve Team to the final of the Beds centenary Cup at Cranfield United FC's ground. The team were already runaway Champions of Division 5 and had lost in the semi-final of the Luton News Cup 1-0 to Britannia. The cup runs had taken their toll and the team were catching up on league games almost every night leading up to the final, since this team also formed the nucleus of the Saturday XI. In the end a tired side lost on sudden-death penalties when Alex Houghton put his kick over the bar.

7. 12th May 1996   3rd XI vs. Chalton Strollers  1-4

      Luton Sunday League Challenge Cup Final

A fortnight after the Fourth team's triumph in the Invitation Cup Final the Third Team had a chance to take the Luton Sunday League Challenge Cup Final, played for the first time at Pirton.

The Thirds, under Manager Mick Marsh, were league runners-up in Division One, but had finished 11 points behind their opponents Chalton Strollers, who had beaten the Fourth Team convincingly in the Invitation Cup Final a year previously.

Once again, unfortunately, the formbook didn't lie and Chalton ran out 4-1 winners, despite a consolation goal from Phil Thompson.

Team: Dave Newman, Archie Conway, Neil Hebron, Rick Vipers, Steve Goldsmith, Mick Marsh, Paul Gathern, Alan Palmer, Phil Clarke, Phil Thompson (1), Hugh Byrne  Subs: Steve Baggett, Kelvin Callow, Graham Carter

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15. 1st May 2002   Under 16 Reds vs. Stevenage Colts  4-4   (2-3 on penalties)

      Royston Crow Youth League Under 16 League Cup Final

Godfrey Knock's Under 16 Reds had had a difficult first season in the Royston Crow League - not so much with results, but more with the inconsistency of the fixture list. Nevertheless, the team had fought its way through to the League Cup Final, after a great 4-1 win in the semi-final against Risdon Wood.

Stevenage Colts were already the League Champions and Hertfordshire County Cup winners, so were hot favourites, but the Under 16s excelled themselves in the Final, played at Royston Town's ground.

Lea Sports were in the lead three times, including going 4-3 up in extra-time after a marvellous strike from Ben L'Honor - a lead they held until the very last minute when incessant Stevenage pressure brought an equaliser against a very tired Lea Sports side.

In the ensuing penalty shoot-out it was top scorer Ben L'Honor (who had scored 25 goals in 21 games) who missed the decisive kick and Stevenage grabbed the trophy 3-2.

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Back row: Dave Newman, Trevor England, Ashley Burgess, Stewart Jenner, Adrian Burton, Nick Kane, Alex Houghton, Bobby McGrath, Steve Smith, Laurence Freed

Front row: Trevor Taylor, Paul Gathern, Archie Conway, Mike Brown-Fraser, Mark Abrahams, Steve Bingham, Alastair Mayman

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20. 1st May 2011   Second XI vs. AC Sportsman & Ravensborough Reserves 0-3

      North Home Counties Sunday League Reserve Cup Final (Jack Coyle Trophy)

The Sunday Reserves under Steve Baggett came up against a team who had finished Runners-Up in Division One in the Reserve Cup Final, played on a bone-hard pitch at Barton Rovers FC. With just one goal separating the sides at half-time, the match was still in the balance, but as the game wore on the superior fitness of the Division One side saw them score twice more to spoil the Lea Sports party.


Back Row: Archie Conway, Pat McAneney, Phil Thompson, Simon Mayes, Gavin Bidgood, Bobby McGrath, Paul Maclennan, Steve Baggett (Manager), Greg Whelan Front Row: Jon Whitehead, Ed Thomson, Ben Thomson, Kieran Williams (mascot), Steve Williams, Mark Williams

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23. 29th March 2014   Under 10 Fishercats vs. Luton Allstars Hawks   0-5

         Chiltern Junior Sevens Trophy Final

The Under Ten Fishercats, in their first season in the Chiltern Junior Sevens League, made it through to the Trophy Final (for teams from Divisions 3 and 4) after a great 3-2 Semi-Final win over Champions Ampthill Town.

On the day, however, things did not go well for them at Crawley Green Sports Club, as they came up against a Hawks side which contained Academy players from Luton Town, to belie their lowly league position. Two goals late in the first half knocked the stuffing out of the lads and they were second-best in the second half. In defence Lewis Manning was named man-of the match as the lads fought hard against a strong, talented side.

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4. Second Team 1995      8. Netball Team 1996    12. Third Team 1999     16. Saturday XI 2002    20. Reserves 2011(1)      24. Saturday XI 2015       28. Saturday XI 2022
27. 12th December 2020   Under 7 Jaguars vs. Stopsley Tornadoes   4-1

         Chiltern Junior Sevens League Autumn Cup Final

In their third season of football the Jaguars put in a sterling performance to light the pandemic gloom, winning by four goals to one in a rearranged match in Luton.

Goals came from George M., Jacob M. and two from Frank S. as the Jags dominated the match and brought some much-needed silverware home to the Club.

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26. 18th October 2020   Veterans vs. Stevenage Veterans   0-6

         Mid-Herts Veterans League Cup Final

The 2019-2020 League Cup Final in the Mid-Herts Vets League finally took place in October 2020, having been delayed for some months by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Veterans had won through a tough semi-final in September 2020 at home to Bradmore Rovers, 3-1 after extra time, but in the Final just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong!

After conceding early, two hamstring injuries and some 'iffy' decisions saw the team on the wrong end of a 6-0 hammering. Maybe one to forget!

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24. 24th April 2015   Saturday First XI vs. Shefford Town & Campton Res.   0-2

         East Bedfordshire Junior Charity Cup Final

In their first season with the Club, the Saturday side were unlucky to lose this final under the floodlights at Langford FC. Most onlookers in the 170-strong crowd agreed that we deserved at least extra-time after a classy performance.

The Saturday team, who finished runners-up in Division 3, put in a brilliant performance in the semi-final, when they won 2-1 away at Elstow Abbey, who sat top of Division 1 at the time of the match. Unfortunately, the team couldn't quite reproduce that form in the final and went down to two scrappy goals against their opponents also from Division 1 in the Beds.County League.

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25. 22nd April 2016   Saturday First XI vs. Henlow   0-1

         East Bedfordshire Junior Charity Cup Final

A year on and the Saturday side made it through to this floodlit final again at Langford FC.

The journey was an interesting one: they drew their first game in August 2015 against Elstow Abbey Reserves and then lost 6-7 on penalties. It wsn't until March 2016 that they learnt they had been reinstated after Elstow folded. The semi-final was a replay of last year's final against Shefford Town & Campton Reserves, but the best display of the season saw the lads win 3-0.

The final was decided by a soft penalty awarded to Henlow after 20 minutes - after that few chances were created and a disappointing game fizzled out into a 1-0 win for the higher-division side. 

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28. 6th May 2022   Saturday 1st XI vs. Cranfield Utd. Res.   2-5

         Bedfordshire County League Centenary Cup Final

The Saturday 1st XI failed in their attempt to bring the Centenary Cup to Pirton, when they lost 5-2 to Cranfield Unites Reserves at Shefford Sports Club. Cranfield started the stronger and were 2 goals up inside 15 minutes:  a shot from the edge of the box was well saved at the foot of the post but the ball squirmed away from the keeper and a Cranfield forward was able to squeeze the ball home. Minutes later a corner found its way into the Lea defence and was clipped in off the underside of the bar. Lea steadied the ship but before half time another Cranfield break down the left hand side saw the ball side-footed past the keeper to make the half-time score 3-0.

A few minutes after the break, Joe Hennem met a left-wing cross with his head to reduce the arrears. When Kian Devers broke through a few minutes later to smash the ball into the bottom corner, cries of 'Istanbul' could be heard from the supporters behind the goal. An equaliser came tantalisingly close as the Cranfield keeper just managed to stick out a boot to divert the ball wide. However, Cranfield exploited the gaps that started to appear as the lads pushed forward for an equaliser and two further breakaway goals sealed the tie.


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29. 7th May 2023   Sunday 1st XI vs. FC Inter Malone   1-5

         George John Memorial Trophy Final

The Sunday 1st team were underdogs going in to the final of the Hitchin Sunday League George John Memorial Final against Division 2 Runners-Up FC Inter Malone. It had been a mediocre season for the adults in the Club's Golden Anniversary season, but great cup performances had seen them win through to the final of this competition.

The lads battled hard, but found themselves 2-0 down at half-time in the final, played at Arlesey Town's ground. A second-half strike from top scorer and Golden Boot winner Jonny Day gave the team hope of a come back, but tired legs in the last half hour took their toll and Inter Malone recorded what was maybe a somewhat flattering 5 goals to take the cup.

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5. 30th April 1995   4th XI vs. Chalton Strollers  1-5
16. 11th May 2002   Saturday XI vs. Macdonald Humfrey  2-1

      Luton District & South Beds League Invitation Subsidiary Cup Final

The Saturday team, under the managership of Jim Betts, had had an average season in the Premier Division of the Luton & District League, finishing sixth of nine teams with 16 points from 16 games.

The Invitation Cup had brought the chance of some silverware after a 4-1 win over Luton Borough in the semi-final.

Bobby McGrath made his sixth appearance in a Lea Sports Cup Final as the team ran out 2-1 Winners in the Final at 61FC, Kingsway, Luton.

Team: Nigel Timms, Shohel Ahmed, Simon Jackson, Mark Booth, Bobby McGrath, Glen Walker (1), Adam Celine, Andrew Newton, Dwayne Grant, Luke Munt, Henriques Mthuthuzeli (1)  Subs: Craig McCann, Mujib Miah, Sujel Miah, Rob Gurruchaga, Scott Wood

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      Luton Sunday League Invitation Cup Final

9. 11th May 1997   3rd XI vs. Luton Rangers  2-0

      Luton Sunday League CBS Cup Final

The second Sunday League Cup Final to be held at Pirton saw the second appearance of the Third Team. This time they were up against Luton Rangers in the renamed CBS Cup Final.

The team, now managed by Steve Baggett, had finished 5 points ahead of their opponents in mid-table in Division One, but the team had won 8 of 11 since Christmas and was very confident.

Showing just 4 changes from the final of the year before, Lea Sports dominated the match and ran out 2-0 winners.

Back row: Matthew Clarke, Trevor Taylor (1), Steve Close, Graham Carter, Dave Newman, Steve Baggett, Mark Freire, Hugh Byrne, Steve Goldsmith

Front row: Alan Palmer, Phil Clarke, Neil Hebron, Archie Conway, Paul Gathern (1), Rick Vipers  

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A week after the Reserves' failure to take the Bedfordshire Centenary Cup, the 4th team also failed in their second attempt in two seasons to take the Luton Sunday League's Invitation Cup.

The match

6. 28th April 1996   4th XI vs. Woodlands Social  2-1

      Luton Sunday League Invitation Cup Final

Lea Sports' first Cup Final success came when the Fourth Team made their third successive appearance in the Luton Sunday League's Invitation Cup Final at 61FC, Kingsway, Luton.

Woodlands Social had finished half way up the Division One table, whereas the Fourths had finished 4th in Division 2, so an even contest was on the cards and so it proved as the Fourths battled their way to a hard-fought 2-1 victory with some desperate defending in the later stages.

Back Row: Dean Kempson, Kevin Knight, Craig Brooke, Phil Roberts, Dave Malvern, Houston Ferguson, Owen McKee, Marcus Olden, Andrew Sexton

Front Row: Richard Sexton, Graham Manton, Steve Grimes, Rob Middleton, Steve Middleton, Ian Clarke, Damian Corbett

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pitted the Fourth XI, Champions of Division 2, against Chalton Strollers, Champions of Division 1 and the match ran true to the form book with Chalton running out 5-1 winners on yet another barren pitch at 61FC in Kingsway, Luton.

11. 6th May 1998   Saturday XI vs. Mallard  0-1

      North Hertfordshire Football Alliance Greg Cup Final

In the 1997-98 season, Hitchin Reds, playing as Lea Sports FC, had finished runners-up in the North Herts FA Premier Division. They were confident of victory in the Greg Cup Final, played at Hitchin Town FC, against Mallard from the division below.

In a poor final, however, it was Mallard who made the running right from the start and deservedly took the trophy 1-0.

Team: Brian Routledge, Cyril Gittens, Phil Casey, Justin Fells, Toby Pitcairn, Roger Clarke, Stewart Hamilton, Neil Bethell, Ben Kowalczyk, Garnett Hendricks, Marvin Hall  Subs: Paul Parris, Leroy Saward

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Bobby McGrath made it three cup final appearances out of four, but couldn't prevent Strollers running away with the game in the second half.

Team: Steve Blackhurst, Steve Middleton, Matt Borg, Martin Alley, Alan Palmer, Bobby McGrath, Paul Dubal, Neil Addison, Andy Bownes, Tony Fontanelle (1), Steve Eneduwa. Subs: Hugh Byrne, Ben Quince

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12. 2nd May 1999   3rd XI vs. Railway Tavern  2-3

      Luton Sunday League TT Trophy Final

In 1998-99 Steve Baggett took the Third team to Runners-up spot in Division One and to both the TT Trophy Final and the final of the Challenge Cup.

This game was a bad-tempered affair against a rough Railway Tavern side who had kicked their way to runners-up spot in Division 2 (they had been robbed of the title by an injury-time equaliser by Steve Baggett in their match vs. the Fourth XI at Pirton on 15th April). In the end poor officials offered little protection to the Thirds, who went down 2-3.

Back row: Lee Brown (1), Graham Carter, Andy Shiers, Gavin Bidgood, Phil Thompson, Neil Hebron, Bobby McGrath, Steve Goldsmith

Front row: Steve Williams, Paul Gathern (1),  Steve Bingham, Archie Conway, Rick Vipers, Chris Gathern

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13. 9th May 1999   3rd XI vs. Dunstable Drivers  4-0

      Luton Sunday League Challenge Cup Final

The Thirds were determined to finish the season on a high note after their battle in the TT Trophy Final the week before.

Playing in Pirton, Steve Baggett's team took the game to Dunstable Drivers right from the start and ran out convincing 4-0 winners. Phil Thompson scored 45 goals in the season, but failed to score in the final.

Team: Gavin Bidgood, Neil Hebron, Andy Shiers, Rick Vipers, Steve Goldsmith, Steve Williams (1), Archie Conway (1), Lee Brown (1), Phil Thompson, Steve Bingham (1), Paul Gathern  Subs: Graham Carter, Chris Gathern, Bobby McGrath

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8. 1st June 1996   Netball vs. Vauxhall Golds  31-47

Luton & Dunstable Netball Association Cup Final

After a nailbiting 32-30 semi-final win over Toddington, Lea Sports netballers faced the mighty Vauxhall Golds in the Cup Final.

The league match a few weeks earlier had resulted in a 70-19 win for Vauxhall, so confidence wasn't too high, but the girls stuck at their task and although they finished on the losing side they put up a good show on the day.

Team: Chris DeHaan, Debbie Allen, Debbie O'Brien, Catherine Cassidy, Hilary Adams, Lorraine Breheny, Cheryl Price  Subs: Elaine Bodsworth, Michelle Coogan

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14. 7th May 2000   3rd XI vs. Purley Old Boys  1-2

      South Beds Sunday League Division One Cup Final

The Thirds had finished in third place in their first season in the South Beds league, but 12 points behind Champions Purley Old Boys, whom they now faced in the Division One Cup Final played at Arlesey Town FC.

Despite falling behind to an early strike, Lea levelled through a strike from Jamie Richards. In the second half, however, the Purley pressure told and a mistake at the back let them through for a winner.

Team: Gavin Bidgood, Neil Hebron, Andy Shiers, Mark Williams, Steve Goldsmith, Steve Williams, Archie Conway, Lee brown, Graham Carter, Jamie Richards (1), Paul Gathern  Subs: Steve Bingham, Chris Gathern, Phil Thompson, Rick Vipers

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10. 26th April 1998   4th XI vs. Dunstable Drivers  3-2

      Luton Sunday League Invitation Cup Final

The Fourth Team, under Kevin Knight, had been determined to reach the Invitation Cup Final for the third time in four years, after failing in extra-time in the semi-final last year.

In their semi-final this year they overpowered Luton Rangers 3-1 to set up a final against an in-form Dunstable Drivers team who had finished 2 points ahead of us in the Luton Sunday League Division 2.

The result was a cracking game at 61FC, Kingsway, Luton with the Fourth team squeezing out a 3-2 victory, thanks to goals from Chris Bryant (2) and top scorer Craig Brooke.

Team: Dave Newman, Steve Grimes, Steve Middleton, Andy Westgate, Mark Freire, Alan Palmer, Lee Clark, James Crook, Craig Brooke (1), Chris Bryant (2), Martin Davern  Subs: Archie Conway, Eddie Johnson, Dave Malvern

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17. 14th May 2006   Under 11 vs. St.Josephs  6-1

      Chiltern Youth League Under 11 League Cup Final

The Under Elevens, in their first season with the Club, had missed out on the Division One Championship by a whisker, so were keen to make amends in the Final of the League Cup, played at Ampthill.

In their run to the Final, the Under Elevens had scored twenty goals without conceding one in reply, but they were shocked to find themselves a goal down after just two minutes.

They didn't panic, however, and their superior football told in the end as they ran out 6-1 winners, with goals from Matty Baxter, Danny Butler (2), a free-kick from Jack Mordecai and two from super-sub Ashley Palmer.

Team: Jack Good, Brett Longden, Matty Baxter (1), Bradley Turner, Andrew Smith, Jack Stanton, Jack Mordecai (1), Thomas Hignell, Danny Butler (2), Yusuf Mushtaq, Adam Nunn  Subs: Aaron Bodger, Elliot Isted, Ashley Palmer (2), Billy Redding

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18. 4th May 2008   Under 11s vs. Wootton Rangers  0-1

      Filmergraphics Mini-Soccer League Cup Final

Only the second mini-soccer (7-a-side) team to play for Lea Sports, the Under 11s were delighted to reach the Cup Final after starting the season with the bare minimum of players. The team excelled in the Group stages finishing top of Group A, before securing a 1-0 win away to Bedford Panthers in the Quarter-Final and disposing of Wilstead Harriers by the same score in the Semi-Final.

Just one goal decided the final too (played at Barton Rovers FC) but it was to go to Wootton Rangers. Lea Sports put up a brave performance and defender James Lovett was declared Man of the Match.

The team with Coach Phil Toyer after the medal presentation ceremony.

James Lovett receives his Man of the Match award.

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19. 19th April 2009   Second XI vs. Bird & Bush 0-2

      North Home Counties Sunday League Challenge Cup Final

Unbeaten in the League Division 4 going in to the Cup Final, the Reserves were confident of putting up a good show against their Division 3 opponents. However, on a big pitch at Ampthill Town FC and on a hot April afternoon, two late goals from Bird & Bush were enough to take the Cup.

Back Row: Andy Shiers, Pat McAneney, Ollie Palmer, Paul MacLennan, Gavin Bidgood, Ed Thomson (Manager), Archie Conway

Front Row: Luke Day, Tom Newland, Jon Whitehead, Simon Mayes, Ben Thomson, Mark Williams, Phil Thompson

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This site was last updated 30th June 2023

22. 13th May 2011   Saturday First XI vs. Pavenham 2-1

      Bedfordshire Junior Cup Final

The Saturday side, already Champions of the Beds County League Division Two, made it through to the County Cup Final in bizarre circumstances. The team had won the Semi-Final of the league cup (the 'Jubilee Cup') against Westoning after extra time, but had then been expelled from the Competition for playing an ineligible player.

We thought that any chance of Cup success had gone when we lost in the Semi-Final of the County Cup 1-0 at home to Elstow Abbey, missing a penalty in the process, but the day before the Final was due to take place Kings AFC discovered that Elstow had been playing an ineligible player and informed us. We made the County aware on the morning of the Final and the match was postponed while they investigated. Eventually Elstow were expelled and we were reinstated.

Once in the final we made no mistake: Martin Collins scored in the first half and other chances were missed. Pavenham equalised to take the game in at half-time all square, but Golden Boot winner James Awofisan made sure of the silverware with a winning goal in the second half to give the team a memorable double.

Saturday XI - Double Winners

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21. 6th May 2011   Second XI vs. St. John's 1-4

      North Home Counties Sunday League Challenge Cup Final

Five days after their defeat to AC Sportsman in the Reserve Cup Final, the Sunday Reserves returned to Barton Rovers to take on Division 3 Champions and County Cup Winners St.John's in the Challenge Cup Final. The league meetings between the two teams had been close affairs, with both sides winning their away fixture 2-1. The final was to be more one-sided, however, as St.John's produced some good football on a difficult pitch. They scored a magnificent first goal with a strike after 20 minutes screaming into the top corner and then raced into a 3-0 half-time lead. Despite our fears that St.John's might race away with it in the second half, the Reserves came out fighting and pulled a goal back through Tom Newland before eventually going down 4-1.

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