Joe's second half header earns Tigers the silverware

Second Division Cup 2019 winners Johnston

Second Division Cup 2019 winners Johnston
Steve Allen and Jim Payne receive cup from League Council Life member Keith Scourfield
Tigers' goal scorer Joe John with daughter Alexis
Match officials Paul Rooney, Angus Scourfield, Chris Stapleton and Paul Jackson

Referee: Angus Scourfield.
Assistants: Chris Stapleton and Paul Rooney.
Fourth official: Paul Jackson.
Venue: Conygar Bridge Meadow.

Second Division Cup final:

Johnston 1 - Kilgetty 0

A second half header from Joe John made it fifth time lucky for Johnston last night as they beat Kilgetty to capture the Second Division Cup for the first time in their history.

The Tigers had lost their four previous finals in this competition but were good value for the silverware at the Bridge Meadow - and had already missed a number of chances before John planted a downward header home from sub Marcus Allen’s cross.

Kilgetty did respond late on and had strong appeals for a penalty waved away when Scott Murray seemingly handled Josh Bevan’s header on the line, but the Tigers held out to capture their first trophy since famously beating Penlan Club at the Liberty Stadium to win the West Wales Cup in May 2013.

Steve Allen and Jim Payne receive cup from Keith ScourfieldTigers prowl 

Dean Boswell’s side started on the front foot and John had a dangerous cross cut out by Kilgetty defender Brett Evans, before Scott Crawford cut onto his right foot in the box but could only shoot straight at keeper Andrew Evans.

Joey George headed over from a Murray corner and Evans has to be sharply off his line to clear from both Crawford and Ryan Doyle as The Tigers failed to make their possession count.

And then it was Kilgetty who fashioned a chance against the run of play as a Henry Lawrence corner found an unmarked Evans at the back post – but he couldn’t direct his header on target.

Johnston were back in the ascendancy before the break as George curled a free kick over and in injury time came their best chance of the half, as Crawford’s back heel put Doyle clean through but his side footed shot rolled inches wide.

Allen makes an instant impact

The second half started in a similar vein as Steve Mills’ left footed cross-shot bounced back off the bar and Crawford drove a 25 yard effort wide.

But after 59 minutes came the decisive moment as Allen, who replaced the injured Ross Williams early in the second half, lofted in a ball from the right and it was John who timed his jump right to head past Evans from six yards.

Kilgetty right back Carl Gwyther, already on a yellow card, was then fortunate to escape a second one after taking out Crawford and from the Murray free kick that followed John this time headed over.

Hand of Scott?

Tigers goal scorer Joe John with daughter AlexisIn the final quarter though, the tide turned as Kilgetty began to push forward.

A Lawrence header forced Johnston keeper Jim Payne into his first meaningful save of the night, but the keeper was left rooted to the spot a minute later in a controversial moment.

Bevan’s header was destined for the net but was blocked on the line by Murray, and despite vehement shouts for hand ball referee Angus Scourfield was unmoved.

Another chance came when Callum Proctor turned and fired in a shot that Payne pushed away at his near post – but as the game became scrambled late on it was Crawford and then Doyle who went close to making the game safe for Johnston.

Kilgetty did win a free kick at the death and even keeper Evans went forward, but The Tigers held out.

Dean Boswell (Johnston manager): “I thought we deserved it to be honest. But we didn’t take our chances early on and when that happens you do begin to wonder.

“But we got the goal and then Kilgetty came back at us late on, and it’s great for everyone that we could see it out and win it.

“I have to say thankyou to Glenn Murray, Paul Jones and Rhodri Barlow. I missed part of this season after an ankle operation and they all helped run the team and keep things going.”

Rob Beynon (Kilgetty manager): “Congratulations to Johnston. On the night they deserved it.

“Obviously the decision with the ‘save’ didn’t go our way but it happens that way sometimes. We have a young team and there were 16 and 17-year-olds who played tonight so we’re heading in the right direction.

“We can still be promoted although it will be hard work with the midweek games to come. But we’ve still had a good season and I’m proud of the boys.”

Man of the match – Scott Murray: For much of the first hour, Johnston were on top in terms of possession and territory and both Joey George and Scott Crawford played key roles in stretching the Kilgetty defence.

It was Joe John who eventually got the crucial goal but throughout, it was Murray who got on the ball and dictated the tempo with which his side played. It was a controlled display from the central midfielder.

Of course, he may well have got away with one in the second half with his clearance off the line but the call went his and Johnston’s way. Football is often decided by fine margins.

Match officials Paul Rooney, Angus Scourfield, Chris Stapleton and Paul JacksonPromotion push

The season isn’t over now for either side. With both Merlins Bridge 2nds and Hakin 2nds in the top three, it seems now fourth place will be enough for promotion to Division One.

Johnston currently occupy that spot on 34 points with seven games left. Kilgetty are seven points off that but with two games in hand, and they still have to play each other at Kingsmoor in the final game of the whole Pembrokeshire League season (April 29th).

Dean Boswell’s side will be relieved to have a trophy in the bag but with the midweek games coming thick and fast, they still have their work cut out to go up. And for Rob Beynon and co - a return to Division One would go a long way to making up for last night’s defeat.

Johnston won the battle between the two last night. This next one could go to the wire.

Johnston: Jim Payne, Chris Phillips, Ross Williams (Marcus Allen 51), Steve Allen, Steve Mills, Joey George, Jake Smith (Rhodri Barlow 90), Scott Murray, Ryan Doyle, Scott Crawford, Joe John (Liam James 74).

Kilgetty: Andrew Evans, Carl Gwyther (John Mansbridge 84), Max James, Brett Evans, Ross Hurst, Callum Proctor, Jordan Gorman (Tom Mansbridge 78), Richard Tebbutt, Grant James (Ollie Gamble 71), Henry Lawrence, Josh Bevan.

Runners up Kilgetty

Runners up Kilgetty