Swindon Supermarine 2-1 Highworth Town
Marine - County Cup Kings. A short blog on last night's WiltsCounty FA Final.
Borrowed from Base of the Pyramid's excellent blog. (@BasePyramid)
It's getting very close to the end of the season now so an unexpected opportunity to take in a game on a Thursday evening was very welcome. The game being the Wiltshire County Senior Cup Final between Swindon Supermarine of the Southern League Division One South & West and Highworth Town of the Hellenic Premier League. The game was to be played at Swindon Town's County Ground which in the context of this website would be a new ground to tick off. In reality, I have actually been to the County Ground before to watch West Brom take on Swindon many years ago. A game which saw the massed ranks of Albion fans get absolutely drenched in the uncovered away end.
This evening just the Arkell Stand was open to the public. So, unusually for a non-league contest, there were seats and shelter available to all.
The Wiltshire Senior Cup was first contested in 1886, the first winners, and in fact winners for the first 6 years, were tonight's hosts Swindon Town. Of the two sides contesting this evening's game Highworth Town had the best record with six wins, last last of which was in the 2014-15 season when they beat Bradford Town 2-1 in the Final. Supermarine, in their current guise, have never won the Senior Cup. However, the current team was founded in 1992 after two clubs, Swindon Athletic and Supermarine FC, merged. Supermarine had won the Cup once, a 2-0 victory over Penhill in the 1985-86 season. Athletic could claim two victories, a 3-1 win over Trowbridge in 1892-93 (becoming the first team to prevent Swindon Town winning the cup) and again almost 100 years later in 1989-90.
So history was definitely on the side of the Worthians.However, current league standings favoured Swindon, as a Step 4 team, who finished in a very creditable seventh place. Highworth, a step lower, were placed sixth in their league. With the two clubs being just over 2 miles apart, both fielding players that had played for both clubs in their starting line-ups and Supermarine boss, Dave Webb, having played for Highworth, there was always going to be an edge to this game.
The opening encounters of the game were quite even but as the teams started to settle it was Highworth who looked the more comfortable on the ball, putting together some really nice passages of play and using the space provided by the County Ground pitch.
Conversely, after the tidy passing moves that the Worthians had produced, it was a route one move that saw them take the lead. A Supermarine corner was collected by Worthians keeper Kauppinen who, spotting Ashley Edenborough upfield, went for the long ball to the striker. The Supermarine defence seemed to be taken completely by surprise allowing their former team-mate to go clean through and finish calmly past Johns. 0-1.
Swindon picked up their game a little after going behind but, it has to be said, Highworth were worthy of their lead. However, it didn't last too long. A Supermarine attack was stopped illegally on the edge of the Highworth box and Josh Parsons stepped up to curl a lovely free-kick past Kauppinen and into the net. 1-1. That was the way it stayed until half-time.
The Worthians would probably feel that they deserved to be in front at the break having been the better side for a large part of the half. However, Swindon have kept themselves in the game and must still fancy themselves as the game wears on.
It took just four minutes of the second-half for Swindon to establish a lead in the match. A right-wing corner was headed goalwards and parried by Kauppinen. Former Highworth player Ash Taylor was first to respond to the loose ball, smashing it under the keeper and into the corner of the net. 2-1.
Swindon were more in the game than the first half but Highworth still looked dangerous when going forward. Their plight was not helped in the 70th minute, however, when dangerous forward Asa Corrick was shown a straight red for a lunging chalelnge in midfield. Corrick shrugged off a couple of challenges but, after pushing the ball a little too far ahead, he went in quite recklessly in an attempt to retrieve the situation. I have to say, from my vantage point, my first thought was that he would see red. There was a little bit of a scuffle following the challenge before the referee gave Corrick his marching orders.
Even a player light, Highworth still tried to take the game to their opponents but as time began to run out, they did have to rely on keeper Kauppinen, now almost playing as a sweeper, to keep them in the game a couple of times. His counterpart, Connor Johns, was also called into action, saving well from Edenborough and preventing any extra-time.
FT Swindown Supermarine 2 Highworth Town 1. Swindon Supermarine win the Wiltshire Senior Cup for the first time. Highworth, to their credit, made them work very hard for their win in what was a pretty tight and even encounter.