Gill Cup Final - Underwood SC A 1 Undy Athletic 2
UNDY Athletic lifted the Gill Cup with a determined and impressive performance by taking chances they created to delight managers Andrew Peacock and Ziggy Niblett.
Simon Owen and Andrew Tucker scored in each half and Rob Williams reduced the deficit with a close range strike to set up a frantic final 20 minutes as Undy resisted their opponents efforts to at least force extra time.
“Andrew and I couldn’t be any prouder of the lads this weekend,” Niblett said after seeing his men celebrate with the cup.
“Everyone played their hearts out and did what we asked of them.
“We had 32 players eligible so squad selection was difficult but we are a close-knit side so the unlucky 16 all came along to cheer on the lads.
“We were massive underdogs but we can match East Gwent’s top sides when we play at our best.
“This was the second season that Andrew and I have managed the Thirds and it’s the second cup we’ve won.
“This is a glorious era at the club because our Firsts retained their status in Welsh League Division One this weekend.”
Niblett also paid tribute to Underwood and wished them good luck in the Gwent County League and thanked the officials who organise the East Gwent Senior League.
“Without them we wouldn’t have anything to play for each year,” he said.
While Undy had an abundance of riches as far as players were concerned, Underwood had four players who have played an influential part in this season’s promotion success, on the bench.
Justin Bidgood, Craig Owen and Tony Ryall were held in reserve and it was obvious that manager Kieran Stephens hoped the starting line-up would be up to the job.
“We started with Dave Jackson but he was only about 60 per cent fit,” Stephens said later.
“Justin is still carrying a knee injury from last week, Craig broke his nose in that game and Sean Johnson was unavailable while Josh Downing’s ongoing injury problems mean we have struggled in the last few weeks – especially in the goal-scoring department.
“All credit to Undy though! They took their chances well but maybe if we had taken one earlier on, it might have been different.
”I’m happy with the boys pushing them all the way to the end and I believe we can bounce back next week and make our final push for the league.
”The boys are determined to lift the title away from Mathern FC after they cleaned up last year but probably reaching the Amateur Cup semi-final played a big part as far as injuries is concerned.”