Goals from strikers James Lister and Liam Cooper enabled Fryston AFC to beat Castleford Town 2-0 in a well contested Castleford & District FA Sunday Cup final.
The game, played at Pontefract Collieries, burst into life in the second half when Lister kept his nerve to convert a penalty, after a handball in the box, and Cooper came up with a superb individual effort.
The opening half started nervously for both sides as they felt their way into the match. Town enjoyed the majority of the possession in this half due to Fryston trying to get the ball forward too hastily and their midfielders, Dale Somerville and Rob Waring, used the possession to spread the ball about and put the Fryston back-three of Paul McNamara, Andrew Blackwell and Andy Burrow under pressure.
But they stood up well and dealt with the threats from Town forwards Jonny Clayton and Mark Newton comfortably. The only mistake made was a slip by Burrow on the difficult surface, which gave winger Josh Price a great chance of opening the scoring, but Fryston keeper Mark Edwards pulled off a good save to keep the scores level.
Both Edwards and his counterpart, Shaun Russell, were rarely troubled throughout the first half as most shots were either long-range efforts hit straight at them or chances that flew wide, like the ones from Ash Rycroft and Adam Blackwell for Fryston and efforts from Somerville and Clayton for Castleford.
Cas got a lot of joy down the flanks through their full-backs, Dale Edwards and Craig Morris, pushing on, allowing wingers Price and Rye Davidson to play further up.
The Fryston defence held firm, although they felt they got away with one when Paul Taylor seemed to handle in the box, only for referee Pete Walker to rule ball-to-hand, despite Castleford’s protests.
On the odd occasion that Fryston did work an opening, they found centre-backs Chris Dobson and Ross Bladon on top form and they kept Cooper, Lister and Ad Blackwell wrapped-up for most of the half with little supply from Rycroft and Mikey McNamara as they were quickly closed down.
Fryston brought Mark Jones on for the second half and he added more stability and used his experience to control the midfield. An early Lee Hudson effort was fired over, but it showed Fryston had come out from the break with a different attitude.
A great Taylor effort from just outside the box again cleared the bar before the game was turned with the penalty award.
After Lister had converted the spot kick, tensions were ramped up. Tackles began to fly in and neither side backed out. Town were being pushed back now as Fryston looked more like their old selves.
Hudson’s long ranger was well saved by Russell and sub Dale Gordon was denied by another good defensive effort. But with around 20 minutes to go, Cooper’s excellent finish when he beat a man and found the bottom corner with a shot from outside the area gave his side some breathing space.
Fryston then saw the game out with Town finishing with 10 men after Waring was sent-off for a second booking.
Delighted skipper Andy Blackwell lifted the cup after Cooper had received the official MOM award. He also took his side’s main sponsors’ award, the Jill & Andy’s Premier Store MOM, but was pushed all the way by Burrow, Blackwell and McNamara.