Gill books final ticket for Nags

Bank Holiday Monday had the final four teams in this year’s Byron Cup battling it out for the privilege to play at the B2Net Stadium on May 12.

First up were All Inn and Nags Head and it was All Inn who started the better.

Dominating much of the possession All Inn always looked the most likely to break the deadlock first.

And so it was the case, late into the first-half a free kick led to the ball finding its way to Craig Marples who fired home.

Nags were stunned into action and from a deep cross into the All Inn box Steff Gill rose to beat a defender and the keeper to head home the equaliser and saw the sides go into the interval all square.

Nags seemed a different side in the second-half and began to find their attacking form much easier and were rewarded with a second goal when a low cross was met by the diving Gill to glance his header in to the net for his, and Nags, second goal.

All Inn turned the pressure up and attacked relentlessly in search of an equaliser however, they were unable to do so and Nags secured their passage to the final.

In the afternoon match Hopflower and Shirebrook Rangers went head to head. Hopflower began the brighter, quite literally in their day-glo yellow kits, and pressed from the get-go.

Clear cut chances were at a premium in the first-half however, both sides did find the woodwork, Hopflower first with cross shot that hit the underside of the bar but the ball bounced down and across the face of the goal.

Shirebrook matched this later in the half when a free kick was palmed onto the bar by the Hopflower keeper.

The second-half started goalless and with both sides still working hard to find the clinical finish needed to break the deadlock.

In the end it was Hopflower who succeeded when the ball worked its way across the box and Ryan Whittaker rifled the ball home and led to him being mobbed by his team.

Shirebrook didn’t rollover and continued to work hard to find a way back into the game however, as time passed their chances began to dry up and as their keeper rushed out to clear an oncoming attack he lost the ball to Daniel Longmore who killed the game off with a 25-yard effort into the vacated net.

All four teams, and the supporters who turned up for both games, are to be commended on two very good games and congratulations to both Nags Head and Hopflower who now go head to head in the first local league final to be played at the B2Net Stadium on Thursday, May 12.