GRESFORD ATHLETIC WIN NEWFA CHALLENGE CUP
Written by The North East Welsh FA, May 06, 2017
Gresford win NEWFA Challenge Cup in thrilling finale
Gresford AFC lifted the NEWFA Cup for the third time in their history beating Queens Park by three goals to two on Monday evening.
The game, watched on by a crowd of more than 500, pitted two of Wrexham's most dynamic sides against each other, with Gresford finishing third in the Huws Gray Alliance (HGA) and Queens Park promoted to the HGA after a successful title win in the Welsh National Premier Division.
It was also a historic fixture for the North East Wales FA, as ex-Wales international and referee Cheryl Foster became the first female official to be in the middle for a NEWFA Cup final.
Spectators had to wait only 30 seconds for the first action of the game which came in the form of a stunning strike from Mike Latham. Pushing forward, he struck the ball from 30 yards to beat the Gresford keeper and upset the odds by giving Queens Park an early and unexpected lead.
But Queens Park' lead was short lived, as a rapid start to the game meant both sides couldn't settle. As Gresford looked to get back on level terms, Jon Collo made use of a cutting pass to break through on goal and slot home on seven minutes.
After the fast paced opening to the game, the first half slowed as Queens Park and Gresford met each other in the midfield, with robust defensive displays denying any major chances.
Minutes from half time, Corey Smart got on the end of an attack to slot home against the run of play, sending Gresford in deflated at half time as despite seeing more of the ball for the most of the first 45 minutes.
The second half opened with similar intensity to the first, but this time it was Gresford who found the early goal, with Jack Jones finishing inside a crowded area to bring his side level once again.
On the hour mark Jon Collo followed up with his brace and what would become the game-winning goal, showing great determination to follow up on two failed clearances from Queens Park to finish low in the bottom left corner.
With 30 minutes to play, Gresford finally found the control that had been evading them in the first half and held the ball well, surviving a late scare when a Queens Park free kick from just 25 yards hit the wall.
Gresford ran out deserved winners at full time, but Queens Park can reflect on a strong performance that reflected the strength of North Wales football.