LAST week the BA(G) football cup final took place at the stadium pitch at Normandy Barracks, when 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment took on 26th Regiment Royal Artillery.
After disappointment in the league cup final 1 PWRR seemed determined to set the record straight. They started off strong, going 1-0 up quickly after kick-off before settling into the game early and looked on top.
26 Regt RA thought they had found a way back into the game only to see the assistant’s flag raised for offside, but they didn’t let this take the wind out of their sails, as moments later the Gunners hit a shot from 40 yards that swerved into the top left corner – a great goal that brought the team straight back into the game.
The scoring continued as the Tigers worked the long ball over the Gunners defence to their front man who calmly lobbed the keeper from 25 yards out to make it 2-1.
The half-time whistle drew closer and 1 PWRR won a free-kick just outside the area; WO2 Peart confidently stepped up and wrong-footed the keeper with a composed finish around the wall and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The half way point had been reached with the scores standing at 3-1 to the Tigers; the game was turning into a classic cup final match with the physicality, some good tackles and two great goals, all before half time.
The second half started and the Gunners looked to come out and reduce the deficit; within minutes they had a free-kick within range to trouble the 1 PWRR keeper.
A clean hit to the left of the goal was well saved, before the goalkeeper played the ball out and the Tigers broke as they hit the Gunners on the counter, getting the ball to the other end in no time, before they finished off the team move by putting the ball into the back of the net, 4-1.
26 Regt RA looked the more attacking team; from this point on they were piling forward in numbers. The Tigers defence put up a great display with no less than three chances cleared from the goal line.
As the momentum stayed with the Gunners they looked to get back into the game, but every time 1 PWRR regained possession they looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
Chance after chance came and went for the Artillery, but a combination of bad luck and great defending from 1 PWRR kept the Gunners from scoring again, until the last kick of the game.
Another long ball over the top – this time from 26 Regt RA – was followed by another chipped finished to make it 4-2.
It was a great finish to end a great match, the game was very close especially in the second half when the Gunners came out fighting, but the Tigers put on a really professional performance as they saw the game out and were able to lift the cup.
WO1 (RSM) Lee Gidalla is the 1 PWRR team manager and said: “The team’s performance today was absolutely spot on and great; they showed great mental strength, the football wasn’t pretty, but they worked out 26’s strengths and we exploited their weakness; they were disciplined throughout and we worked out where our strengths lay and took advantage of 26.
“We are good at the long ball and it worked really well today, we tightened up and we didn’t concede the goal that would allow them to come back to 3-2 after half-time.”
Team manager Lee continued, saying: “What we spoke about at half-time worked really well, the guys in the second half were disciplined and great throughout.”
26th Regiment Royal Artillery team manager is SSgt Gavin Cameron, who was upbeat despite the result saying: “Second half we should have definitely put our shots away, but next year we have got more players coming back from Estonia and places like that; we definitely will win the league next year and we will win the cup. I am happy to say that we will do that.”
BA(G) football chairman Lt Col Steve Cross summarised the day: “Both teams turned out with supporters and it was a great turn out considering the commitment of work that the units are currently going through. It has been a great day of football with worthy winners, 1 PWRR. 26 were worthy competitors, but the better team won in the end.
“The match was great, evenly contested. I think the early goal from 1 PWRR actually put them on the front foot and it settled them down a lot quicker than 26, but over all a really good game.”