Born-again Quebec are county cup kings
- Credit: Archant 2013
Quebec Rovers Veterans manager Steve James is basking in the afterglow of a county cup final success which “more than justifies the decision to start the team up again.”
Rovers reformed this season as an over 35s outfit. The team had pulled out of the Norwich Sunday League midway through the 2010-11 season, months after they had won the Premier Division title, with James blaming a lack of commitment from young players.
After the 4-0 win over Long Stratton at the FDC on Friday, James said: “ I am surprised we won by that margin, although we didn’t play as well as we could have done. It more than justifies the decision to start the team up again. The fact that seven of the players from the old team were in the starting line-up was great for me and for them.”
Quebec can cap a dream season at veterans level by winning the Norfolk FA Barnham Broom Hotel League Championship section to compete a double.
Two wins from their four remaining games would guarantee the title.
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The first chance in Friday’s final fell to Quebec’s Mark Pitcher on 12 minutes, but his effort from inside the box was easily dealt with by Long Stratton ‘keeper Ian Wilby.
As the half progressed Quebec were gradually establishing the greater foothold in the game, but without really forcing Wilby into any action of note.
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On the half hour mark the Quebec supporters had their hearts in their mouths, when ‘keeper Nathan Pauling misjudged a through ball and was left stranded 25 yards from goal, but Stratton were unable to capitalise on the keeper’s error.
Back at the other end, on 33 minutes Quebec’s Jamie Hunton drew a superb save from Wilby, who pushed the midfielder’s 25-yard drive over the bar. However, the Stratton custodian was beaten just two minutes later when Pitcher thrashed the ball into the back of the net from a few yards out after a corner, to put Quebec in front.
The team wearing blue and black were on the up and had a great chance to add a second goal before the break, however Louie Robinson sliced the ball wide after it had dropped invitingly for him just inside the 18-yard line.
The second half was barely 30 seconds old before the next major incident.
Long Stratton’s Rom Seed capitalised on some dubious defending to latch on to a long pass and, after nudging the ball around Pauling, went down in the box. Despite protestations from the Stratton players for a penalty, Seed was shown a yellow card for diving and Pauling received treatment for an injury sustained in the altercation.
On 53 minutes Hunton’s looping effort came back off the bar, after a ball had been sent across the face of goal. However, a minute later Pitcher made it two with his second goal of the night. This time it was a superb drive from 25 yards that curled away from the clutches of the diving Wilby and settled in the top of the net after shaving the upright.
On 68 minutes Quebec effectively secured the game, when Hunton added a third goal. The midfield man slotted home from 10 yards after Wilby could only parry a shot from distance.
Four minutes later a decent left- footed shot from Mark Walsh beat Wilby from edge of the area to make it 4-0 and seal the game for Quebec.
Quebec: Nathan Pauling, Gary Walsh, Trevor Gannon, Greg Lawrence (capt), Paul Densly, Nicki Glasel, Jamie Hunton, Danny James, Neil Sparrow, Louie Robinson, Neil Reed. Subs: Mark Pitcher, David Kendrick, Mark Walsh.
Long Stratton: Ian Wilby, Damien Hilton, Karl Andrews, Ian Wilson (capt), Matthew Bird, Jimmy Dale, Chris Herring, Paul Hunt, Chris Jarrett, Francis Page, Ricky Braddon. Subs: Gary Wright, Rom Seed, Paul West.
Referee: Rob Emery
Assistants: Vic Petri and Kevin Slater
4th Official: Kevin Batty
Man of the match: Trevor Gannon (Quebec)
• Cup dates
Friday, April 19: John Savage Cup, FDC, Bowthorpe (7pm), Gt Yarmouth Town v Downham Town..
Sunday, April 21: Norfolk Women’s Cup, FDC, Bowthorpe (2pm), Acle Utd v Norwich City Ladies.