Stone is Avro's hero in Challenge Trophy final success

Date published: 26 February 2018

Local football by Ryan Booth

Avro were crowned Manchester FA Saturday Challenge Trophy title winners for a record tenth time as Karl Stone’s save secured a 3-2 penalty shootout  triumph over East Manchester following a goalless 90 minutes at Ewen Fields. 

In what was a nervy encounter throughout, the two sides couldn’t be separated in normal time which meant the fate of the tie was to be decided through the conclusion of a penalty shootout.

Avro missed two of their opening five spot kicks whilst East Manchester missed two from four, this left the Gorton based outfit were forced to convert their final penalty in order to take the game into sudden death.

However, Blues goalkeeper Stone produced a heroic save to tip the ball onto the post and clinch Avro’s tenth Challenge Trophy title.

Speaking after the game, Avro joint manager James Hampson said: “Obviously myself, Lee and Paul are delighted to lift the trophy.

“The performance from the lads wasn’t what we expected but I’ve always believed if you can’t be good, be lucky.

“Penalty shoot outs are always a lottery as we found out a few weeks ago in our Gilgryst cup defeat to Rochdale Sacred Heart.”

Over 350 people flocked to Hyde United's Ewen Fields stadium to witness the showdown and Avro believe this is a sign of just how far the amateur game is progressing in the local area.

Following the game, a tweet that was posted through the club’s official Twitter account read: “There was an amazing crowd of 353 for our Manchester FA Challenge Cup Final, away from home, an evening kick off and on a working day.

“This is some achievement at Step 7 and shows the interest in developing grassroots football in our area.”

Avro’s attention now switches to their Manchester Football League Premier Division campaign as the Blues aim to finish the season unbeaten.

Hampson said: “Our attention now turns back to the league and we’ve got nine more cup finals now.”

Avro welcome Stockport Georgians to the Vestacare Stadium this Saturday, kick-off is at 2pm.

Elsewhere, Chadderton failed to earn successive Hallmark Security League victories for the first time in 2018, as they suffered a 3-1 defeat away at high-flying Whitchurch Alport.

Jack O’Leary’s strike wasn’t enough for David Fish’s side as Aaron John’s brace and a solitary goal from Ryan Thomas ensured the Shropshire side secured a convincing win at Yockings Park.

Mossley’s clash with Clitheroe was postponed due to a frozen pitch at Seel Park.