Frickley Athletic failed to round off their season with silverware when they produced a disappointing display to lose 1-0 to Athersley Recreation in the final of the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup at Hillsborough.
The Blues surrendered their hold on the trophy when they could not breach a stubborn Athersley defence and went down 1-0. Barring the inclusion of Fernando Moke for Leon Osborne it was the same 11 that had performed so well against Worksop Town in the last league game of the season so it was mystifying why they were so below par.
Their lower level NCE League opponents were on the offensive from the start with Jack Briscoe forcing Ben Simpson to push a shot wide in the fifth minute. The Blues had their first attack with Moke and Luke Sharry combining and the latter’s 18-yard shot was saved by Shaun Penn.
Frickley had a let-off in the seventh minute when a cross from the left beat Simpson but came back off the crossbar and Daniel Joynes blasted the loose ball over from six yards.
A weak back header from Luke Jeffs let in Joynes who lobbed the advancing Simpson, but Jeffs got back to head clear off the line. Adam White hit the crossbar with a volley.
The Blues slowly crept into the game with a deep free-kick finding Gavin Allott at the back post, but his ball across the face of goal hit a defender and rolled into the arms of Penn.
Another free-kick saw Sam Denton head just wide while Jeffs put a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide and Moke saw his shot from the edge of the area pushed round the post.
A good run from Kasper Amdal led to Jack Wakefield having a 25-yard shot well saved by Penn in the 40th minute, but within a minute Athersley took the lead. A good run down the left saw the ball played across the face of goal to Joynes who managed to bundle in from close range despite not making a clean contact.
Early in the second half White saw a deflected shot go just wide then Simpson had to push an angled shot from Joe Thornton past the post.
Moke did have the ball in the net for the Blues in the 55th minute, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Simpson saved again from Thornton and denied Joynes before Frickley had a rare sniff of an equaliser on 72 minutes as Penn failed to collect a Jeffs corner and Jake Picton’s header landed on the roof of the net.
Simpson pulled off another good save to deny Keiron Scargill in the 87th minute, but despite five minutes of stoppage time the nearest the Blues came to an equaliser was in the dying seconds when substitute Andy Villermann headed Jeffs’ cross onto the roof of the net.
Frickley: Simpson, Amdal, Jeffs, Wakefield (Osborne 50), Denton, Picton, Ghaichem (Villermann 50), Sharry, Hinsley, Allott, Moke. Unused subs: Davies, Stratford, Hood.