Whitchurch Alport clinched their place in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division next season with a 2-1 win over Cammell Laird 1907 in the Division One play-off final on Thursday night.
In front of a record attendance of 733 at Yockings Park, goals in the opening 10 minutes from Joe Howell and Simon Everall got Alport off to a terrific start, and although Charlie MacInnes pulled a goal back for Lairds deep into stoppage time, it was the home crowd that were celebrating when the final whistle blew.
Whitchurch Alport manager Luke Goddard was understandably a happy man afterwards, telling the league`s Ian Templeman: “I feel ecstatic, but feel relief more than anything.
“We’ve been used to grinding out results, we did that on Saturday in the semi-final, but today we started well and maybe caught them off guard.
“But to be fair to Cammell Laird, they probably dominated after that, but we had done our work in the early part of the game, and were able to sit in and manage the game.
“There’s been a lot of pressure building over the year, perhaps some false expectancy really, considering how quickly we have moved forward but you have to deal with that.
“It was all about getting over the line and we’ve done that.
“To go from bottom of the league two years ago, to being fifth in losing in the play-off semi-final last year, and now finishing fourth and winning the final, shows good progress from where we have come from.
“It’s great credit to everyone involved. This football club deserves this.
“To break the attendance record on a Thursday night, even though it was a cup final, is tremendous and shows what potential this football club has, and long may that continue, and hopefully this result will help us move forward not just on the field, but off the field as well.”
Also on Thursday night, Evo-Stik League Premier club Rushall Olympic came out on top at Walsall`s Banks’s Stadium, winning 4-3 on penalties after being held to a 2-2 draw in normal time by the ten-men of Total Motion Midland League Premier Division Walsall Wood to win the Walsall Senior Cup.
The Pics took the lead on 23 minutes through the experienced Richard Brodie.
Walsall Wood’s task was made even harder when they were reduced to ten-men on 38 minutes when Keenan Meakin-Richards lashed out at Brodie and the referee had no hesitation in producing the red card.
The equaliser came on 57 minutes when Paul Sullivan smashed a free-kick goalwards and it took a wicked deflection and looped over Joe Slinn.
Rushall’s lead was restored on 67 minutes when Andre Landell picked his spot in the top corner with a neat finish.
But Wood ensured the game went to penalties with a dramatic goal in the dying seconds when Lei Brown scored from close range following a corner.
Rushall came out on top in the penalty shoot-out 4-3, with Danny Waldron scoring the winning spot-kick.
— Rushall Olympic FC (@ROFCOfficial) May 18, 2018