Ludlow Colts lifted the Herefordshire FA Junior Cup after coming from behind to beat Ledbury Reserves on Wednesday evening at the County Ground.
Ledbury took the lead early on in the tie through Sam Branch and controlled much of the first half although weren’t able to build on their one goal advantage. After half time it was a different story as Ludlow started to threaten more in front of goal, the equaliser was only a matter of time and Ali Holder got his name on the scoresheet.
Martin Edwards put Ludlow ahead for the first time in the game before Jack Gittoes sealed the win in stoppage time.
Ludlow manager Scott Mackenzie said at one point the game could have gone either way, but his side kicked on after netting the equaliser.
He said: “Very pleased and very proud. It was a very tight game, for a good part of that game it was very equal, very even.
“Chances both ends, but second half we seemed too came alive a little bit. At one stage it was an even game, it could have gone either way. I think that first goal early on in the second half helped us, gave us a little boost and then getting that second goal at a crucial goal really kicked us on. I’m so proud of these boys.”
On a cool spring evening at the County Ground, Ledbury came out and immediately started putting pressure on Ludlow with a few early spells of danger for the Shropshire-based side to deal with. Three minutes into the game and Ludlow ‘keeper Kieran Roche pulled off an impressive save to deny Ali Holder the opener, tipping the shot over the bar after initially flapping at a free kick.
Ludlow‘s Dan Griffiths had already shown what he was capable of down the left wing, outpacing his man to whip in a cross that was claimed by the goalkeeper.
An agonising shot was drilled wide of the upright in the 8th minute by Griffiths, when after he burst forward he somehow fired wide when it surely would’ve been easier to score.
Ledbury soon took back control of the game and took the lead as a result. Sam Branch was well-placed in front of goal to connect well with an aerial cross to head into the back of the net , with the keeper going down to keep out an earlier effort. Ledbury were able to keep their slender lead intact as the first half wore on, and both sides were trying to play neat, passing football where they could.
Both sets of defenders were able to cut out numerous chances and comfortably play the ball out. Josh Burns for Ledbury came inches away from doubling his side’s lead before the break, but after getting onto the end of Ali Holder’s through ball he put his shot wide from 15-yards.
Half time: Ledbury Town Reserves 1 - Ludlow Colts 0
Ledbury started the second half as they finished off the first, they held the majority of possession without really testing the keeper.
After battling in midfield to win back possession, Ludlow were quick to catch Ledbury on the counter and pulled themselves back level. Dan Crowther found the back of the net with a shot that rendered the keeper helpless, sending his side into raptures.
For Ledbury, they tried to respond quickly as a low ball was played into the box from the right, but Burns unmarked in the centre dragged his shot wide.
Moments later it was captain Mark Taylor’s corner which was headed just over just over the bar by Holder, much to the relief of the goalkeeper who couldn’t reach it at full-stretch..
From the midway point in the second half Ludlow started to dominate, carving out a number of chances but often seeing them blocked by trailing Ledbury legs.
There were chances for Dan Griffiths and Andrew Pugh to put Ludlow ahead, but neither were able to find the target.
Ludlow were firmly in the driving seat when substitute Martin Edwards took advantage of a defensive error by Matti Holder, who slipped and let the ball run through for Edwards to bury past Nathan Ince from close range.
A last push from Ledbury to try and force the game into extra time didn’t bear fruit with some resolute defending from Ludlow to hold onto their lead. Burns was lurking in the goalmouth and would’ve bad a clear shooting opportunity if Simon Bradley hadn’t hooked a probing low ball forward clear. Into injury time and still with only one goal separating the two sides, an accurate ball was played into the path of Jack Gittoes on the right wing. With Ledbury caught off guard broke into the box and confidently fired past the keeper to seal the win for Ludlow.
Full time: Ledbury Town Reserves 1 - Ludlow Colts 3
Ledbury Town Reserves: Ince, Blackmore-Davey, M. Holder, Preece, Lane, Walton, Taylor (c), Walker, Branch, Burns, A. Holder.
Subs: Smallwood, Dunk, Cox, White, Loveridge.
Ludlow Colts: Roche, Harding, Barket, Priday, Dovey, Bradley, Martin, Pugh, Gittoes, Griffiths, Crowther.
Subs: Jones, Smith, Edwards, Lewis, Tonkinson.