For the second year running Croatia took out the league cup final, this time against Steel United at Croatia Park on Saturday with a thrilling 3-2 victory.
Both teams started brightly as Faulds could have had Croatia’s first after only seconds gone but Kilpatrick made a good save at his near post. After 5 min Steel took the lead as Aaron Ledington brushed aside Mikic and unleashed a bullet from 25yards that nearly tore the top corner of the net out to put his side 1-0 up. Only 5min later though Croatia equalised as Canny found Verdoorn with a great run out wide and his low cross was met by Mahon and he side footed in for 1-1. After 25min the speedy Sullivan was through on goal and rounded the keeper but Keegan Fay cleared off the line and as the ball went upfield Sheedy’s our stretched leg thwarted Green as he was in on goal with only Tudhope to beat. With only minutes left in the half Steel pressured Croatia with successive corners but it remained 1-1 at the break as both teams sat down for a well deserved breather. The second half started evenly but it wasn’t long before Croatia started to get on top . A slick move saw Sullivan with space at the top of the box but a brilliant reflex save from Kilpatrick denied him but 5min later a long ball into the box was fumbled by the keeper and Mahon was on hand to head the ball into the net and give Croatia a 2-1 lead .
Soon after Croatia made it 3-1 as Faulds pounced onto a loose ball in the box and with the keeper stranded steered it past the defenders in front of him and Croatia looked home.
Steel can never be underestimated though and started a comeback.
Ledington while on the ground was able to flick the ball into the path of Perez who broke the offside trap and smacked the ball into the bottom corner for a grand stand finish.
Steel then pushed for an equaliser with their best chances coming from a back post header from Wales that the keeper did well to tip over and a goal mouth scramble that eventually landed in the arms of Tudhope .
In the end Croatia did enough to win what was an outstanding cup final played in fantastic spirit by both clubs. In the reserves Wanderers took out the Cup final with a 3-1 victory over Lions.