Churchill United put its League Championship loss behind it with a 3-1 win over Sale United in the Battle of Britain Cup final yesterday at Latrobe City Sports Stadium.
Two second half goals, a Paul Riess penalty and a Sale own goal, proved the difference after scores were locked 1-1 at the break.
Rams coach Stephen Riess said the club was desperate to win a trophy after relinquishing the coveted League Championship to Moe.
“We wanted to set things right today; we knew we stuffed up in the league and we need to win some trophies this year, we’ve worked too hard not to,” he said.
The Swans looked threatening throughout the first half and controlled much of the possession, but were boxed out by the Rams around the 18 yard area and restricted to predominantly long range efforts.
Jon Piefke’s goal for Sale was cancelled out by Brodie Downie in a scrappy opening 45 minutes, which Riess labelled as “one of our worst first half efforts as far as simple mistakes”.
“At half-time we said we just need to get back to basics; if we get the basics right we’ll score goals. We did get the basics right and scored goals,” he said.
Less than 10 minutes into the second stanza Churchill grabbed the lead.
Taylor Jackson danced past a couple of Sale defenders in the area only to be felled while winding up to fire and the referee pointed to the spot.
Paul Riess stepped up and sent one straight down the middle to gain the advantage for the Rams, which was doubled minutes later in almost comical fashion.
Recovering from a turnover in their own defensive third, Sale’s scrambling efforts to clear the ball resulted in a ricochet off one of its own number in to the back of the net.
At 3-1 up, Churchill was content to absorb the Swans’ pressure and allowed them few clear chances on goal.
Sale midfielder Tommy Nguyen was creative in attack and dogged in defence and looked the most likely candidate to generate something special for the Swans throughout the fixture.
However, as the clock wound down, even he was reduced to firing from 20 plus yards as Churchill secured a second straight Battle of Britain Cup.
Churchill dedicated the victory to the family of Jason Sands, whose grandmother died recently.
“That was a big motivating factor for us,” Riess said.