East Manchester FC were taken all the way to a penalty shoot-out by Manchester Central on Tuesday night to retain the Murray Shield at Ewen Fields.
Manchester League Division One side Manchester Central faced the task of taking on East Manchester from the league above, the Manchester League Premier Division, in a battle for the Murray Shield.
Central were in dreamland as they took the lead with 52 minutes played as Liam Turner prodded home from close range after mayhem in the six-yard box.
Turner, who has been in brilliant goal scoring form this season, gave Central a 2-0 lead with just over half an hour to play after a clinical finish into the bottom left corner and it seemed that the newly re-formed club had one hand on the trophy.
Controversy took place with Central two goals to the good as the referee went to his pocket to give an East Manchester player a second yellow card but seemed to decide against it when realising he would be sending the player off.
Manchester Central really tested the character of an experienced East Manchester outfit and they reacted to the second goal well as Steve Dorman nodded in from close range just a minute after the restart.
East Manchester continued to pile on the pressure as they looked to take the game to a penalty shoot-out and did just that in the dying minutes of the game after Central ’keeper Jordan Hadlow found himself in no-man’s land after a long free-kick and Anthony Roberts looped header bounced into the net to make the scores level at 2-2.
The format of the Murray Shield meant the match would be decided on penalties after the 90 minutes were up and East Manchester showed their experience from the spot as they came away 4-3 winners.
Manchester Central definitely have the right to feel hard done by after Tuesday’s final as they seemed the better side throughout normal time but failed to put away their chances and cracked under pressure in the final 30 minutes of the match, perhaps showing their inexperience as a squad.
East Manchester will be delighted with their team’s performance after coming back from two goals down to retain the Murray Shield, but were open to admit on social media that Central deserved more.
— East Manchester FC (@EastMancFC) May 5, 2017
Manchester Central will have to pick themselves up for the remainder of their league season as they continue to chase promotion to the ML Premier Division, whereas East Manchester have finished their season and will put their feet up before looking onwards to next season.