PLAYER-MANAGER Chris Rixham was the hero as FC Bull & Stirrup won a memorable Chester & District Sunday League Bill Gresty Memorial Trophy final.
Goalkeeper Rixham saved two penalties and saw another hit the post in the second half of extra-time as his side rode their luck to beat Chester Chronicle Section B promotion rivals Custom House 4-3.
Rixham, 29, who runs Bull & Stirrup with co-manager Dan Hackett, said: “I was lying in bed on Saturday night thinking about how I could be the hero but I never could have imagined it could happen like that.”
Dale Young opened the scoring at the Cheshire County Sports Club but a second-half brace from Elliot Slade put Custom House in front going into the closing stages of normal time.
Oli Mills equalised late on before Andy Clibury and Scott Slater struck to give Bull & Stirrup a two-goal lead going into the second period of extra-time – and that’s when the drama truly began.
Custom House smashed their first of three spot-kicks against the woodwork and then saw their second attempt turned away by Rixham.
The ball, however, was never truly cleared and Slade was on hand to complete his hat-trick and set up a tense finish.
With virtually the last kick of the game, Custom House were awarded their third penalty in the space of 15 incredible minutes.
They were unable to beat Rixham, though, whose stop ensured Bull & Stirrup got their hands on the silverware.
Also celebrating success are Corner Pin LG and AFC Lache.
Corner Pin retained the Concorde Trophies Section A title with a 1-0 victory at neighbours and nearest rivals Saltney Social Club on Tuesday.
The newly crowned champions had won their penultimate match of the season 4-3 at home to Highfield Athletic on Sunday.
Highfield led through hitman Sam Henry (3) but Corner Pin fought back to take the points with goals from James McIntosh (2), Lee Highfield and match-winner Leon Whitley.
Saltney Social (Phil Whittaker 3, Nathan Jones) were 4-1 winners at Elton (Billy Sammut) on the same morning.
Unstoppable Lache, meanwhile, wrapped up the Chester Chronicle Section B championship with a 7-0 success at Red Door on Tuesday.
Second-placed Tarvin Rex all but secured promotion on the same night with a 4-1 victory at Egerton Arms.
Tarvin (Shaun Page 2, Matt Edwards, Ali Taylor, Rich Edwards), won 5-2 at home to Spital Vaults, and Lache (Scott Beech 4, Joey Waters 2, Mike Edwards 2, Dale Gilmartin, Carl Waters), 10-1 at home to AFC Hilton (Tom Kennedy), also won on Sunday.
Waverton (Ben Hughes, Terry Farrell 2) stretched their unbeaten run to six games with a 3-2 home win over Hickory’s (Scott Ford 2), for whom Andy Eaton missed a twice-taken penalty.
Red Door won their basement battle at Grosvenor Arms (Paul Williams 2, Chris Hulse 2, Tom Fellows) 8-5.
Malpas (Gary Sumner, George Haller) were on the end of a 9-2 hammering at Poynton in Cheshire League Division Two on Saturday.