The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 11th May 2012
The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South side were without seven senior regulars because of holidays, suspension or players being cup-tied. But after frustrating their NPL Premier Division rivals during a goalless 90 minutes, Grove then upped their game and were rewarded on 112 minute when Hall struck.
Victory made them the first team to retain the cup since 1985, and they have also won the trophy five times in the last nine seasons.
Kidsgrove made the brighter start last night, Danny Griggs having a shot tipped over before Paul Taylor also went close.
Rushall, seeking only their second ever victory in the final, began to come into the game as the opening half progressed.
Midway through the opening period Decio Gomes strode forward from the back to hit a 25-yard shot just over the Grove bar.
The holders had a shout for a penalty on 38 minutes when Griggs played the ball out to leading scorer Dave Walker, and his cross bounced up to hit Gomes on the hand.
But the referee waved away the spot-kick appeals, ruling the incident was accidental.
Rushall had a great chance to take the lead 3 minutes before the break when Nick Amos found Ahmed Obeng in space with just the Grove keeper to beat, but Steve Hodgson produced a tremendous save to keep the scores level.
Right on half-time, Obeng broke clear again, only for Hodgson to tip his shot around the post for a corner.
The stalemate continued into the second half, and Kidsgrove made the first change by bringing on former Nantwich Town player Phil Parkinson in place of Jonathan Crompton.
The pacy Obeng was a constant threat, but the Kidsgrove defence held firm as the game drifted into extra-time.
Just 4 minutes after the restart Griggs set up Karl Charlton and he hit a 30-yard shot that thudded against the Rushall post with keeper Chris Gemmell beaten.
And Griggs then hit a dipping shot that was tipped over by Gemmell as the holders began to dominate.
They still had to be wary though. As the second period of extra-time began, Obeng set off on a mazy dribble, beating three men before powering his shot against the Grove bar.
Rushall were still cursing their luck when the deadlock was finally broken.
Hall claimed a loose ball out on the left and fired in a shot that brushed a defender sufficiently to wrong foot the Rushall keeper as it flew into the net for the winning goal.
A minute later, Obeng hit a shot from the edge of the box that was well held by Hodgson, who had an excellent game to help ensure Grove keep the trophy for another twelve months.