St Clement end title drought
ST CLEMENT’S latest crop of footballing parishioners enjoyed tournament glory for the first time in over a decade as four goals and a penalty save ended their wait for a Trinity Shield title.
Goalkeeper Tom Le Monnier blocked a penalty to deny St Saviour a second-half equaliser in the 2019 final – a stop that proved to be a defining moment as St Clement extended their lead just a minute later.
Matt Rawlings and Sol Solomon scored either side of half-time to cancel out Lucas Parker’s early opener for St Saviour at Springfield, and Rawlings struck again to put the game beyond doubt at 4-1 after Karl Hinds had also found the net.
St Clement’s route to the Springfield steps, where captain Connor O’Shea lifted the shield, included 18 goals in just three games.
‘It was a great effort from the lads in this game and throughout the tournament,’ said coach James Beaumont.
‘St Saviour were buzzing around a lot in the first 15 minutes and we didn’t cope with it too well, but we got our rhythm going and I don’t think there was any stopping us after that.'
It was often a case of ‘defend and counter’ for St Saviour following Parker’s strong header past Le Monnier from an early corner, with St Clement enjoying ample possession and a handful of decent chances, although it was far from being one sided. St Saviour had plenty of threat in attack through the likes of Daryl Wilson, Joe Kilshaw and Barry Keith and kept St Clement wary.
Any wariness was replaced by jubilation either side of half-time, though, as St Clement flipped the final on its head with a pair of well taken goals.
Rawlings levelled the scores with the game’s second headed corner – sinking to his knees inside the six-yard box to meet the set-piece – and the winger turned provider just 11 seconds into the second half to hand Solomon a tap-in for 2-1.
Le Monnier saved himself from ongoing blushes with a penalty save nine minutes later, having fluffed an attempted throw forward. The ball barely made it out of his area before bouncing back, and a three-man collision ended with referee Steve Kermin pointing to the spot.
Wilson went left with his attempt for 2-2, but Le Monnier got in the way, collected the rebound, cleared his lines and 60 seconds later it was 3-1. Hinds curled his effort past St Saviour shot-stopper Bradley Rolland with his left boot.
St Clement’s third goal knocked the wind out of St Saviour. They did hit a post in their attempts to rekindle reasonable hope of a comeback, but soon faded and were unable to block Kushal Frankson’s run forward as he lined up a cross-goal assist for Rawlings’ second and St Clement’s fourth.
Full report in Friday's JEP.
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