EAST Lancashire League champions Rimington made history last Thursday when they earned a place at Leeds United’s Elland Road for the final of the West Riding County FA Cup.
The villagers beat the West Yorkshire Premier League leaders Bardsey in a tight match at the West Riding County FA Headquarters, and now look forward to the final on Friday, May 3rd against either Bay Athletic or Springhead.
The achievement is all the more special for manager Terry Braithwaite, a boyhood Leeds fan.
Rimington started well, and in the second minute, McLean’s flick found Lloyd, who fed Sargeson, and though his shot beat the keeper, it drifted narrowly wide.
Bardsey showed their class and passed the ball well on the massive pitch, and in the 10th minute, a free kick was met with a header which Kershaw allowed to loop over.
Rimington looked a little nervous, the fear of losing out at this stage for a second successive season seeming to hinder their game.
They tried to play at a high tempo,which led to mis-placed passes and Bardsey, therefore, enjoyed most of the possession.
Hutchinson found McLean’s surging run, and his cross resulted in a Lloyd shot, but it was straight at the keeper.
On the half hour, McCarthy mis-judged the bounce of the ball and had to handle it to prevent the striker getting through, and was booked.
Soon after Lloyd appeared to be tripped in the area, but no penalty was given.
Rimington enjoyed their best spell leading up to half-time, both Sargeson and McLean running at the heart of the defence, the latter firing a shot wide, and Sargeson finding Lloyd, whose curler only just missed the target with the keeper beaten.
Sargeson combined with Fagan and his cross was nodded down by Lloyd for McLean, and he forced the keeper to turn his effort wide.
Bardsey attacked from the first whistle in the second half, and Kershaw had to save low to his right, his first real action of the game despite the opponents’ possession.
In the 52nd minute, McLean surged into the Bardsey half before finding Lloyd in the left channel, and he took the ball to the edge of the area before squaring to Sargeson, whose shot was blocked.
But McLean was following up and thundered in his shot, giving the keeper no chance.
The large group of supporters went wild, and a shock was on the cards for the Leeds outfit.
From the kick-off they surged forward, but sent a shot wildly over.
They were now starting to use their possession of the ball, and a run and shot forced Kershaw into his second important save as he tipped it over the bar.
Lloyd was injured in a collision with the keeper as he attempted to go around him, the referee seeing nothing wrong with the challenge, but it resulted in him having to be replaced by Tootle.
Conti came on for Rakshi as Rimington looked to counter, with Bardsey pushing men forward. T
Tootle tried an audacious chip but the keeper was equal to it, and the substitute then set up McLean, but he couldn’t time his shot.
Five minutes from time, a midfielder broke into the box on the right, only to send his shot over, with Kershaw to beat.
In the last minute of normal time, Tootle nodded down to McLean, who released Conti, but he couldn’t find an opportunity to shoot and the chance was gone.
With an additional five minutes to play, you could feel the tension as the locals knew how close they now were, and they had their talismanic keeper Kershaw to thank in the dying seconds when he spread himself to deny a certain goal.
Braithwaite was ecstatic: “The lads were brilliant in the face of a very good side.
“We kept our shape and discipline, defended like heroes and we created the better chances despite all their possession.
“It is down to all the hard work, particularly with Jon Penman, that they were able to cope with the occasion, the big pitch and the quality of the opposition.
“I must thank all the supporters for coming too, they were great, we could hear them shouting us on even though there were far more Leeds people there.
“I can’t believe we have got there but now we need to go and win it – Elland Road here we come!”