Skipton Juniors u-18s 2 Menston Rangers u-18s 1

SKIPTON Juniors won the Craven Aire and Wharfe Cup final in dramatic style.

Matt Thompson headed home Ben Speak's cross in the final minute of extra-time to spark huge celebrations.

For some of these players and manager Roy Harvey this was the culmination of 12 years at the club.

This season had a mixed start with two early defeats from their final opponents Menston Rangers, but since October they have been nigh on unbeatable and their results included a 5-1 win over Menston in November.

The match was hosted by Silsden AFC, who provided a great setting and a decent playing surface.

After a frantic start, Skipton started to get on top.

Good play down both flanks saw Speak, Luke Thompson and Danny Pow make inroads on the left whilst Tom Everett and Andy Bayliff gained some success on the right.

They fed Matt Thompson and the ever-lively Alistair Harvey up front. Menston held firm and kept it goalless despite of a good penalty shout.

A good save from the Menston keeper and a last-ditch defensive clearance denied Andy Bayliff.

Skipton might have thought it wasn’t going to be their day as Luke Thompson shaved the wrong side of the post with a free-kick just before Menston took the lead.

Skipton were caught out by a deep cross which came out of the sun and dropped under the crossbar to give Menston the lead against the run of play.

This was really unfair on the defence who had limited Menston to only a few half chances as both full backs, Speak and Everett and sub James Kelly, had been quick to see danger.

That strength was also exemplified by Nathan Ridding in the heart of Skipton’s defence as he won every tackle and aerial battle.

On the rare occasion that wasn’t enough skipper Jacob Jackson or Harry Taylor with his pace and height usually cleaned up.

Keeper Max Chadwick didn’t have that much to do but in a tight low-scoring game it proved vital that he positioned himself well and held on tight whenever Menston did threaten the goal.

A change of personnel for the second half saw Speak pushed into midfield and Skipton soon got their foot firmly back in the game.

Brandon Yip, who alongside Johnny Holland and Jacob Jackson had been tireless in midfield, won yet another challenge around the centre circle and played a quick ball over the top.

Speak took one touch with his knee to control it, and whilst still running at pace hit a sweet half volley into the top left corner.

From this point Skipton were again the better team and had a few chances to win in normal time.

It was a credit to both defences that the scores were level after 90 minutes and extra time was required.

Just when it looked as if penalties would decide the outcome, Skipton came up with a winning goal.

Alistair Harvey was named man of the match on a day when there were a number of strong candidates.