On Sunday 1st May, the Cornwall Junior Cup final (proudly sponsored by Bond Timber) saw Nanpean AFC beat St Just AFC after Napean grabbed the victory with a last-minute winner.
Penryn Athletic played host to this 2022 Bond Timer Cornwall Junior Cup Final. The Duchy League and Trelawny League tables meant that this final featured the best Junior teams from West Cornwall and East Cornwall and the game on the pitch would back that up. On a rain-soaked afternoon these two teams served up a wonderful competitive game of football that had it all. In the end though it was Nanpean Rovers who triumphed in the most dramatic of circumstances.
As we approached the 2pm Kick Off the rain was lashing down, the pitch looked in great condition and the wet weather gave it extra zip. Nanpean started the stronger of the sides and settled quickly into a rhythm and were only denied an early lead by the heroics of Liam Wallis in the St Just goal. One save in particular was spectacular from a glancing header that looked destined for the bottom corner. Nanpean however did make the pressure tell and took the lead on 22 minutes through Jordi Willmott. Nanpean looked to capitalise on their lead but it was St Just who re-grouped and started to come into the game, the goal seemed to wake them up and just 10 minutes after going behind they were level, good play on the right wing by Ashley Ellis and a powerful cross saw an unfortunate defender turn the ball into his own net. It was St Just who ended the half on top and only some last ditch defending by Nanpean kept the scores level.
The rain continued to lash down as the 2nd half started and it was St Just who maintained their momentum from the first half, but after a couple of good chances came and went it was Nanpean who re-took the lead through Scott Brown, firing home from the edge of the box after a half-cleared corner. The game was now very much end to end, and you sensed the next goal was crucial and it was St Just who got it. A rash challenge by the Nanpean keeper presented Willis with an opportunity from the penalty spot, and Jack Willis coolly stroked the spot kick home. Just 2 minutes later and St Just were 3-2 up, some lovely football saw Scott Meagor on the end of a flowing move to turn the game on its head. Now it was Nanpean needing to find an answer, and find an answer they did following a mix up at the back for St Just which saw the grateful Wilmott tap home to level the scores at 3-3. Chances came and went at both ends but with no winner we headed to Extra-Time.
The rain continued to fall and both teams started to show the weariness of their endeavours on a wet pitch. The effort and commitment were there, as it had been all game but Extra-Time produced few chances. The game looked to be heading to Penalties but in the 119th minute we had one more moment of drama. A heavy touch in the box from a St Just defender saw the Nanpean player nip in front of him out of nowhere and the defenders follow through swept the legs from under him, a tired challenge but the correct decision. Jordi Wilmott stepped and completed his hat-trick, sending the keeper the wrong way and delighting the Nanpean supporters. St Just tried to muster up a final effort but it was not to be and it was Nanpean who stood victorious after 120 minutes of enthralling football.
Credit must go to the match officials, on a wet pitch, with two committed and passionate teams referee Charlie Philpott and his assistants Neil Pitt and Niara Ratliff ensured that the game was well controlled and never spilled over, not an easy task when emotions are high, and it must be said that they contributed to this absorbing game as much as the players with their calm and composed officiating.
Congratulations Nanpean AFC!