‘It’s a fantastic night for the club,’ says Chatteris Town boss Ashley Taylor after Lilies shock Great Shelford to lift the Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup
- Credit: Archant
Chatteris Town ended a 51-year wait to lift the Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup last night after shocking higher-level Great Shelford in the final of the competition at Histon.
Ashley Taylor’s men went into the tie as underdogs against the Kershaw Premier Division leaders, but a determined performance and strikes from Jack Whiting and Ben Matthews led them to a 2-1 triumph and their first piece of silverware this season.
“It’s a fantastic night for the football club,” boss Taylor said.
“On paper we weren’t expected to lift this trophy but we always believed we could beat Shelford.
“I said to the lads before the game that win or lose just do yourselves proud and they certainly did that.”
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The Lilies have been in fine form of late – five straight wins has fired them into the promotion places in the Kershaw Senior A – and they continued their purple patch on the big stage, with Whiting’s fierce drive giving Chatteris the lead after only two minutes.
Top-scorer Craig Gillies had a golden opportunity to double his side’s lead from the spot after Shelford stopper Sam Clare hauled down Lee Barnett, but Clare made amends from the resulting spot kick by saving the striker’s effort after 15 minutes.
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The Premier Division league-toppers got themselves back on terms midway through the first half, when Tom Barham slipped the ball past Ben Collett after a Shelford breakaway.
The sides went into the break with matters evenly poised, but Chatteris had to wait until 20 minutes from time to seal a shock cup victory.
Josh Dodman was brought down on the edge of the box, and Matthews stepped up to strike home the winner via a big deflection off the Great Shelford wall.
Shelford threw men forward in the final stages of the game on the hunt for an equaliser, but the Lilies held strong to seal their first Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup triumph since 1965.
Taylor was delighted to lift the trophy, and showed his appreciation to the army of Chatteris fans that travelled to Histon for their big night.
He said: “I would like to thank the tremendous support we had last night. The ground was packed with our supporters and the last 10 minutes Shelford put us under a lot of pressure but the supporters were like a twelfth man and pulled us through.
“Now the lads have tasted success, this will drive us on to try and win more.”
The Lilies return to league action this Saturday against Cambridge University Press, before taking on Outwell Swifts in the final of the William Coad Intermediate Cup next Wednesday – the second of Chatteris’ three cup finals this season.