10:02am Thursday 5th May 2011
A fine headed goal from Bay Athletic’s Nicholas Jagger goal six minutes from time finally ended battling Otley Town’s hopes at Woodlesford on Friday.
The greater experience of the Bay Athletic side, who had figured in two previous finals, eventually told.
The West Riding County Amateur League champions were deserving winners, but Otley earned rich praise for their spirited display.
The first 20 minutes of the game were scrappy as both sides tried to settle their nerves.
Despite being without the suspended Luke Danskin, Town were more than holding their own in midfield without being able to make any clear cut chances.
Bay were also were finding it difficult to break down a tight Town defence.
Most of the Bay attacks stemmed from the left where young Danny Naidole fired in his crosses.
Initially they were being effectively repulsed by resolute defending.
But Bay made the breakthrough after 31 minutes.
Jagger bundled the ball home with a combination of head and shoulder when Otley were unable to clear a corner from the right.
It was no surprise that Town had difficulty coping with set pieces as the Huddersfield side had several six foot plus players in their ranks.
Bay sensed they had a chance to take control of the game and looked to have confirmed it when Brighton Mugadza hit a stinging shot which rattled a post.
Town had been showing Bay too much respect in the first half and as with the semi-final against Carlton they were glad to go in at half-time in order to re-group.
Manager Dave Morris and Danny Gallagher asked for more possession and a general increase in the effort of the team.
Their words seemed to work as Otley emerged with a more determined edge to their game and within three minutes were back on level terms.
A goal-bound shot from Ben Greenhow from the edge of the box hit Bay’s Liam Rothery on the arm and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Sam Dexter made no mistake from the spot and this triggered a 20 minute period when Town had Bay on the rack.
Had they scored during this spell there might have been a different ending, but they didn’t because Bay recognised their predicament and defended admirably to ride out the storm.
Bay slowly began to regain possession of the ball and the introduction of a right-sided substitute allowed them to get a bit more composure on the ball as well.
The switch also seemed to generate some urgency into their play as they started to seize the initiative again.
In the final 20 minutes Town ran out of steam. Maybe it was the number of games they have played of late but they struggled to retain the ball and Bay began to exert ever more pressure.
Nevertheless Otley managed the odd break away and were always dangerous whilst the score remained at 1-1.
On one occasion Scott Cater broke into the box and it required a last ditch tackle from Bay’s Rothery to stop a strike on goal, while at the other end Bay were pressing for the winner.
Mugadza cut in from the right to strike a fine shot,which came back off a post.
The pressure finally told on Town after 84 minutes when a cross from the right was met with a towering header by Jagger to seal the game.
Bay then saw out the final few minutes to pick up the cup for the first time.
Defeat was disappointing but Otley could be proud of their gutsy and determined performance.
They were beaten by arguably the county’s best amateur team.
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