COLBURN TOWN eased into the final of the Medals Shield at Kneeton Park last Saturday as two goals apiece from Tom Sweeney and Mickey Brend, plus a late strike from Stu Murray, was enough to see off the challenge of Richmond Mavericks Reserves.
However, the scoreline was not a true reflection of the tie as a whole as for a spell either side of the break, the Mavericks gave as good as they got. But after drawing level with a fine header from Kieran French just before half time, they crashed out thanks to five minutes of madness midway through the second period.
Colburn took the lead after just four minutes. Brend was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and Sweeney curled home a delightful free kick – his 24th of the season.
The Mavericks did have the ball in the net soon after when Stirling squared for Carl Tate to tap home, but the assistant’s flag had already been raised for offside. Tate then saw an effort from 20 yards tipped onto the crossbar by Mutch.
The pressure finally paid off a minute before the break; French rising at the far post to nod home Mickey Sartini’s left wing corner.
After the interval, Mavericks responded with an effort from Laws which flew wide of the right-hand upright but their cup dream was over as they conceded three times in five minutes midway through the half.
The goal that restored the Colburn advantage in the 61st minute had more than a touch of fortune about it. Brend was only looking to find Murray or Sweeney in the penalty area but his hopeful ball in from the right was misjudged by Elliott at the near post and somehow ended up in the net.
Then, less than two minutes later, Brend’s ball over the top found Sweeney in the penalty area and he was given far more too much time to beat Elliott from ten yards.
Mavericks’ heads went down after that and Colburn sealed their place in the final when Brend tapped home his second.
The Richmond side deserved to make the final score closer and they were inches away from a consolation when Darren Matthews’ effort hit the crossbar, but it was Colburn who added another goal two minutes from time.
Substitute Mikel Szwak beat three defenders on a thrilling run into the penalty area before squaring for Murray to tap home despite the Mavericks appeals for offside.
Colburn will now face league leaders Hawes United in the final at Northallerton Town in March after they overcame Richmond Buck Inn 4-2 in the other semi-final.