Lairds in narrow cup final defeat

The final fixture for Cammell Laird 1907 FC came in the Edward Case First Division Cup Final which was played at the home of FC Isle of Man (The Ravens), which is the national stadium called The Bowl and produced an exciting game in front of over 3,000 supporters.

Among the massive attendance were Honourable ministers from the Manx Government and included His Excellency Sir John Lorimer who is the Lieutenant General of the IOM, Hon. Julie Edge minister for Education, Sports, and Culture (MHK), Hon. Doctor Alex Allinson the Treasury Minister (MHK), and Hon. Alf Cannon the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man (MHK), such was the interest in this game.

Captain Jake Hulley led the team out and presented a shield to the opposition in commemoration of the fixture and following kick-off Lairds produced a flying start that resulted in Ryan Smith forcing a diving save from the home keeper in the very first minute as he deflected the shot wide with his foot.

From the resulting corner Lairds again had the chance to open the scoring, but this effort was wide of the mark. The game became end to end, but defences were on top form, so chances were either stopped or placed wide of the uprights and bar.

Some intriguing battles ensued, with Danny Stevens and Jack Wood controlling the centre of defence and Kieran Hamm and Jay Harvey always posing a threat up front, but the interval came with the game scoreless in a thrilling encounter.

The second half began with Lairds again in the ascendancy, but they could not unlock the Ravens defence. The home team started to apply pressure without much success as keeper Nathan Davidson dealt well with the odd through ball and cross.

With the game entering the last 15 minutes, Ryan Smith unleashed a superb volley that left the home keeper helpless, but his effort thundered off the crossbar to deny a certain goal.

On a counter attack in the 83rd minute the Ravens were awarded a corner and from the delivery a deflected header resulted in an own goal that found the back of the net to give them the lead.

Despite all their best efforts Lairds could not level matters and the cup went to the FC Isle of Man in a fixture that was equally fought throughout and with Lairds preventing them from actually getting a shot on target the whole game.

Every member of the squad deserves much praise for reaching three cup finals but they can feel aggrieved at only winning one of them. However, their commitment and endeavour was there for all to see and they should be proud of how they conducted themselves in all three finals and how they represented the Wirral in these prestigious fixtures.

Club secretary Toddy Wood presented a commemorative plaque to the Ilse of Man secretary and club chairman Lee Atherton did likewise to their club chairperson.

All the committee would like to thank the parents and supporters for making the trip as their involvement was greatly appreciated.

Image: Back Row (L-R) – Danny Stevens, Nathan Davidson, Mike Jones, Jay Harvey, Jack Wood and Gabriel Kubwalo. Front Row – Ben Kerr, Jake Hulley (Captain), Ryan Smith, Cameron McGregor and Kieran Hamm.

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