UNION Mills completed a memorable season in fine style by defeating Marown 5-1 in the final of the Paul Henry Gold Cup at the Bowl on Wednesday evening.
Having already been crowned JCK Division Two and GH Corlett Woods Cup winners, the Millers secured victory courtesy of a brace from man-of-the-match Matthew Cain, plus goals from Chris Kelly, AJ Suckling and substitute Kyle Uren.
The two sides had already met each other in cup competition this season, when Mills triumphed 5-0 on their way to reaching the final of the FA Cup, and the Garey Mooar side appeared intent on carving out another big win when they attacked from the first whistle.
Indeed, it took the Millers just nine minutes to take the lead when one of David Hicks’s trademark long throw-ins was flicked on to Cain who slid the ball home at the back post for 1-0.
Suckling and skipper Karl Dobbin both went close with headers soon after and it wasn’t long before the Millers doubled their advantage. Again it was Cain who did the damage as the lightning-quick winger latched onto a neat pass from left-back Dan Woznica, using his pace to beat Nigel Shimmin and Marown keeper Mark Kinley to the ball before slotting in from a tight angle.
The goal finally sparked the Crosby side into life and they immediately found a route back into the game through the predatory instincts of Ryan Holdaway. Michael McHale released full-back Sean Doyle down the left who delivered the ball right into the six-yard box where Juan Killip deflected the ball goalwards. Unfortunately for him, his effort cannoned back off the post but Holdaway was on hand to turn the rebound into the net past Christian Cellamare to halve the deficit.
Mills suffered a further blow two minutes later when the impressive Hicks came off worse in a 50/50 challenge with Doyle and was forced off with broken arm, to be replaced by Kyle Uren.
Dave Brew’s Marown then enjoyed their best spell of the game as they went in search of the all-important equaliser. Holdaway almost found it when he nodded just over and then went even closer a few minutes later when he crashed a header against the post.
They very nearly paid for their profligacy when Mills went close to extending their lead no fewer than three times in the closing stages of the half. First, Suckling showed good strength before shooting narrowly wide from 20 yards. Woznica was next to try his luck when his curling effort dropped just the wrong side of the post.
Then, with virtually the last kick of the half, James Cannell picked out Stephen Halsall inside the box but, just when it looked like he might score, the ball got stuck under his feet, given Kinley the chance to block his shot before Suckling fired the rebound wide.
Just two minutes into the second half Marown almost found another way back into the contest when Killip’s cross/shot rebounded off Cellamare’s bar but any hopes of a comeback were soon snuffed out as Mills went straight up the other end and scored. The ball was played out wide to Uren who delivered a ball into the dangerzone where Chris Kelly timed his run to perfection before flicking the ball past Kinley to restore his side’s two-goal advantage.
Uren then saw a fierce effort parried away while at the other end of the pitch Doyle headed narrowly over the bar before Killip wasted a glorious chance to reduce the deficit. Niall Quayle sent the striker racing through as Dobbin slipped but, one-on-one with Cellamare, he side-footed his effort wide of goal.
With eight minutes remaining the result was put beyond any doubt and in some style too. With Marown tiring, Suckling raced clear down the right wing and, as Kinley raced off his line to meet him, the tall striker exquisitely clipped the ball over the on-rushing keeper and into the back of the net.
Suckling very nearly added another a minute later when Uren released him down the same wing but his shot flew just past the left-hand post and out for a goal-kick.
However, it wasn’t long before the Millers added a fifth. Kelly held up play in his own half before playing an excellent ball to Uren in the opposition half. The winger managed to get the better of fellow sub Neil Withers before curling sweetly past Kinley to complete both the scoring and a brilliant season for everyone involved in Union Mills FC.
Marown: Mark Kinley, Alex McQuarrie (Neil Withers 77m), Michael McHale, Nigel Shimmin (c), Sean Doyle, Richard Mulhern (Jeremy Lovett 56m), Stuart Christian, Kevin Druggan, Juan Killip (Paul Postlethwaite 73m), Niall Quayle, Ryan Holdaway. Subs not used: Richard Pyatt and Paul Timpson
Union Mills: Christian Cellamare, James Cannell. Dan Woznica, Chris Kelly, David Hicks (Kyle Uren 27m), Karl Dobbin (c), Michael Nash (Kenny Magee 69m), Gareth Logan (Paul Blair 84m), AJ Suckling, Stephen Halsall, Matthew Cain. Subs not used: Craig Ennett and Will Miller
Referee: John McCallum
Assistants: Tony McMeiken and Mark Todd
Fourth offficial: Mark Thomas
Booked: Jeremy Lovett (Marown) and Cain (Mills)
Man of the Match: Matthew Cain (Mills) - the speedy winger tooks his goals well early on and was a constant threat throughout
Match rating: HHHII