A HOTLY disputed penalty just a few minutes before the end ensured that Newcastle Emlyn lifted the Costcutter Ceredigion League Cup with a 2-1 win over Crannog on Bank Holiday Monday.
Referee Llyr Evans pointed to the spot when substitute Daniel Davies had been upended by Mike Glover just inside the penalty box, and man of the match Huw ‘Jonah’ Jones duly dispatched his spot kick past goalkeeper Rhydian Morgan.
Crannog had started well, with a superb shot from impressive defender Steffan Jones flying just inches over the crossbar - but they were dealt a huge blow in the opening quarter when influential midfielder Huw Reed suffered a blow to his head and was forced off the field.
At the other end, Reds’ front runner Robbie Jenkins broke through for a one on one with the keeper, but his first touch went against him and the chance was lost.
Crannog striker George Colven, however, should have done far better when he fired into the side-netting, with Gary Davies left unmarked at the far post.
Colven, who has been outstanding this season, was marked alsmost out of the game by the combination of Huw Jones and experienced sweeper Steve Hicks.
The match suddenly came to life a minute into the second half when Crannog’s Owen Thomas took a speculative punt from 35 yards and caught keeper Ian Hamilton out for the opening goal.
Reds’ striker Peter Almond went close with a header at the other end, but the game settled back into a midfield scrap.
Jake Harries was unlucky not to score when his header was well saved by Morgan, but it took another long range effort to eventually break the deadlock.
Midfielder Sam Skinner, who had been excellent alongside John Curran, let fly from just outside the penalty box, and the ball deceived keeper Morgan, who looked as if he had saved, but it managed to spin back into the net off the post.
This equaliser, with only 10 minutes to go, sparked off the best passage of play from the Parc Emlyn and with just six minutes to go they snatched the winner.
Sub Daniel Davies, who had made an impact after coming on at the end of the first half with his twin brother Dion, went down in the box under the fairly light challenge by Glover and referee Evans had no hesitation but to point to the spot.
Crannog appealed in vain, before excellent defender Jones coolly tucked the ball away into the corner of the net, to give his team a lead they just about deserved.
At the other end, Owen went close again with a powerful shot from well outside the penalty box, whilst for the Reds Robbie Jenkins almost sealed the victory with the last kick of the match as his scorching shot whistled just over the crossbar.
The final whistle sparked off jubilant scenes as the Reds collected the trophy for the first time in almost 20 years.