PERCY Main AFC Ladies claimed their first piece of silverware in the shape of the Northumberland Women’s League Cup with a hard fought 1-0 victory at Ashington FC’s Woodhorn Lane ground.
There had been little to separate the sides during the contest and it looked odds on the game would enter extra time with penalties beyond that.
But it took a sublime moment of inspiration from Main captain Tina Oxman, who has played a pivotal role for her side during the campaign, to score such a breathtaking goal in the 88th minute to spark jubilant scenes on the pitch and touchline.
The Villagers, nearing the end of only their second season in existence, still have four league games to complete and currently sit in second place in the table behind unbeaten leaders Lowick United, and although the Main have a game in hand on their north Northumberland rivals, realistically the runners-up spot looks likely.
Ahead of the game, Percy Main were perhaps slight favourites having beaten Cramlington 2-1 and 3-1 in recent league encounters.
But that was to count for nothing as the young and improving Cramlington side, who had knocked North Shields out at the semi-final stage, matched their more experienced opponents throughout.
For the neutral, this was not the greatest of games to watch, with goal scoring opportunities at a premium, but there was no lack of effort and the reasonable size crowd were kept engrossed throughout.
A stiff end to end breeze favoured Cramlington during the first half and Main goalkeeper Jade Redhead had to be alert to deal with a couple of long range efforts and well measured corners.
The game was half an hour old when the Villagers’ Nikki Flood, who grafted tirelessly, curled an effort past the upright in what was her team’s first notable attempt on goal.
Percy Main started the second half with attacking intentions as Kelly Rushworth’s clever flick reached Rachael Smales, who fired into the side netting, and minutes later the same player tested the Cramlington goalkeeper with a low shot from an acute angle.
Cramlington, encouraged by a vocal following, pressed and enjoyed spells of possession, but were unable to breach the well marshalled defence.
The winning goal when it came was well worth waiting for and was a strike to grace any cup final.
Hesitancy in the Cramlington defence allowed Alysha Cook and Rushworth to combine to play in Oxman on the left, who still left with much to do, managed to cut inside and unleash a glorious effort which gave the keeper no chance.
The remaining minutes were played out without incident and Percy Main were presented with the cup and winners medals by the league chairman after the match.