Tanton Cup Final
Hornsea Town 4 – 2 Long Riston.
(Jez Longley(2, 1 pen), Chris Walker, Lewis Reeve)
Town started brightly and within the first couple of minutes took the lead after Ben Leyland chased down a seemingly lost cause before pulling the ball back for Jez Froud to slot the ball through a sea of legs from 8 yards. Rather than spur the home side on, it was Long Riston who sprang to life. From a laborious start they began winning first and second balls and from the resulting possession moved the ball out wide quickly, attacking with pace and power down the flanks—exposing an Achilles heal that has plagued Town all season. A low sweeping ball from the right wing, behind the centre halves wasn’t dealt with, and Riston were level. Soon after, a swift counter attack caught the home defence flatfooted and despite a fingertip attempt by James Greensides, who was quickly off his line, the ball looped under the bar to put the visitors ahead. Town
were rattled, and huffed and puffed through the remainder of the half with just enough endeavour to knock Riston out of their stride as they threatened to put the game out of reach. The half time whistle could not come quickly enough.
Whatever was said in the break did the trick because the side that came out for the second period bore no resemblance to what had gone before. There was a spring in the step and the fight and intensity that was lacking in the first period was there for all to see. Now it was Town pressing higher up the pitch, forcing the visitors into sloppy mistakes and picking the loose ball. On the rare occasion Riston ventured out of their own half, a more compact looking back four of Simon Taylor, Taylor Giles, Harry Wright and Mike Lester neutralised the threat. Simon slipped into his customary ‘quarter back’ role and began spraying the ball with growing confidence. With Ed Griffiths and Jordan Holmes putting in a tireless shift in midfield, Lewis Reeve and Jez Froud began to influence the game with skills only they possess. Chris Walker’s introduction was a revelation with his pace panicking a tiring Riston defence, and after first fluffing his lines one on one with the keeper—the crowd were still baying for a penalty when he calmly slotted the ball low into the bottom corner to level the scores. Sensing blood, Town lifted their game to a whole new level and where encamped in the final third for the next ten minutes. It was no surprise when Lewis Reeve unlocked the defence once more and shot low and hard to give Town a deserved lead. Riston countered briefly but Town were in no mood to surrender a lead again and after Lewis Reeve had jinked his way into the box before being upended, Jez Froud sent the keeper the wrong way with an ‘icing on the cake’ penalty. Town had their hands on the Tanton Cup for the first time in eight years.
The game itself was a microcosm of Hornsea Town’s season with the good and the bad there for all to see, warts and all. If the first half showed every that was wrong, the second half performance epitomised everything that is required to turn a talented bunch into a winners. The margins between winning and losing are slender but take that fight, that spirit, and the undeniable skills into next season and the Tanton Cup could be the springboard to bigger and better prizes.