Nathan Kavanagh was left bloodied and battered – but still had a big smile on his face – after helping Linthwaite Athletic Reserves win the Richardson Cup.
Kavanagh suffered a nasty facial injury and a suspected broken nose but recovered to head home a crucial goal and torment opponents Deighton Reserves with a Man of the Match performance.
Linthwaite won an ill-tempered clash 2-0 and referee Mick Robertson had to stamp his authority early on as tempers threatened to boil over.
A couple of meaty tackles resulted in Linthwaite’s No9 receiving a yellow card and a harsh warning. Deighton were forced to make an early change after one such challenge and then Kavanagh was left needing treatment after taking a blow to the face.
Winger Kavanagh didn’t think twice when he launched himself at a deep cross into the six-yard box, heading home the 23rd minute opener.
After a quick clean up, Kavanagh resumed and continued to cause Deighton problems for the rest of the first half.
After the break Linthwaite continued to press but Deighton’s defence stood firm. Deighton midfielder Paul Pyke tried to get his team back in to the game driving his team forward in the pouring rain.
Linthwaite were having the better chances and looked more likely to add to their score.
In the 62nd minute a speculative shot from a Linthwaite forward was tipped around the post by the Deighton keeper for a corner. From the corner the ball dropped to Jamie Byrne, who with his back to the goal, brought the ball under control and juggled it before striking a low shot through a crowded six-yard box for Linthwaite’s second.
Following a quick Linthwaite counter-attack a Deighton defender was booked for blocking and Deighton player-coach Pyke talked himself into a 10-minute spell in the sin bin.
In the 75th minute Deighton had their best chance of the game when their No5 headed a corner narrowly wide.
Despite the punishment he’d taken Kavanagh had the last laugh and left the ground with a big smile, clutching the Brian Handley Trophy for Man of the Match.
Match referee Mick Robertson was ably assisted by Craig Smith and Paul Milosevic.