Lilywhites win Manchester Premier Cup final at Ewen Fields

Tom Pratt is presented with the man of the match award by  the Tameside Council Mayor at the end of last night’s Manchester County FA Frank Hannah Premier Cup final at Hyde FC' s Ewen Fields as Mossley beat Stalybridge Celtic 3-1 in front of a crowd of almost 550.
Mossley defied the odds to win the Manchester FA Premier Cup for the fourth time in five years when beating Conference North neighbours Stalybridge Celtic 3-1 at Hyde United's Ewen Fields Stadium on Wednesday night.
With Caldon Henson and Callum Warburton's season ended early through injury and Michael Thomas' recent departure to the Netherlands, the Mossley line up was completed with the return of midfield maestro Scott Kay who is dual registered with FC United of Manchester, while Kyle McGonigle and Tom Pratt returned following suspension. This against a full strength Stalybridge side who ply their trade two divisions higher than the Lilywhites.
What followed was a magnificent effort by the Mossley boys who played with great quality throughout a mostly one sided game, leaving cup favourites Stalybridge to lick their wounds as Mossley quite literally took their higher rated opponents apart.
It took Mossley only only 3 minutes to take the lead with their very first attack of the evening. Tom Pratt received the ball on the left wing, and not for the only time in the evening, showed his marker Peter Wylie a clean pair of heels before crossing into the box. Dougie Carroll was able to hold the ball up before laying off for Mike Fish who rifled home from ten yards to the joy of the good size contingent of Mossley fans.
Stalybridge finally began to ease their way into the game with centre back Jack Higgins twice heading wide before the Conference North side found an 18th minute equaliser. Mossley didn't fully clear their lines following a Celtic set piece and the ball broke to Adam Farrell who rifled home from the edge of the Mossley box.
Mossley were far from disheartened and continued to threaten the Stalybridge defence with every attack looking likely to provide a goal as Andy Keogh and Scott Kay dominated the midfield orchestrating every Mossley raid.
Mike Fish was yellow carded for handling the ball into the net from another Pratt cross before the on fire Pratt was again the instigator as the Lilywhites deservedly retook the lead on 31 minutes with a game changing goal.
In the midst of some heavy Mossley pressure Pratt's goal bound effort was handled by Higgins on it's way to the net. Higgins was shown a straight red card and Kyle McGonigle stepped up to hammer home from the spot.
Mossley never looked back after this while Stalybridge visibly wilted. The Lilywhites were unlucky not to stretch their lead on the stroke of half time when another mazy run saw 'Man of the Match' Pratt again bamboozle Wylie before curling a superb shot that unluckily came back off the underside of the bar with McMillan well beaten.
Stalybridge made a double half time substitution as they sought to somehow find their way back into the game but their attacks were comfortably stifled by Mossley's effective back four leaving keeper Liam Flynn with little to do.
The third and killer goal came on 66 minutes following a move of the highest quality. Pratt received the ball on the left. Pratt laid the ball back to left back John Bennett who's precise ball down the left touch line again saw Pratt one on one with the beleaguered Wylie. Pratt cut inside before passing to Mike Fish who took a touch to control and open up the space before hammering Mossley closer to the trophy from just outside the Stalybridge box.
Mossley replaced Dougie Carroll with Dave Short on 73 minutes but Short's contribution lasted little over a minute as he was injured in the next Mossley attack and after lengthy treatment was replaced by Sam Howell with Abadaki taking over the centre forward role.
Within minutes Abadaki almost got a fourth goal for Mossley as he burst through a gap but Celtic keeper McMillan did well to deny him.
Mossley ran the clock down superbly in the closing moments and once again skipper Andy Keogh was able to hold aloft the Manchester FA Premier Cup. It was a fantastic finale to what had otherwise been a disappointing few weeks for Mossley as the Lilywhites League play off push had faltered to a mid table finish.

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