WINSFORD duly took their place in their first major knockout final for 13 years on Saturday.
Their last final of any sort was in the Mid Cheshire FA Senior Cup in 1999, when they were beaten 6-1 by Northwich Vics, so hopes are high that the NWCL First Division Cup will bring them a little over-due glory.
Dean Martin was the first to test Barry Crellin but the veteran keeper saved well and went on to have a fine game.
But in the 16th minute Cheadle went in front when a long free kick was poorly defended and Aaron Riley tapped in.
Tim Drohan brought them back to earth four minutes later. Hopley blocked a clearance and the ball fell kindly for Drohan who sprinted goalward to score with the aid of a post.
After the break Cheadle were continuing to cause problems with their quick breaks and it was Martin again on 71 minutes who was unlucky to see his 30-yard shot skim the post with Crellin helpless.
The final couple of minutes were full of drama when, with just 60 seconds remaining the visitors got the goal they were looking for. Pint-sized striker Tosin Onibudo cut in from the right and fired in a low shot that gave them thoughts of taking the match into extra time.
However, it was not to be as Matthew Smith's free kick was brilliantly caught by Crellin and his powerful kick found Hopley on the halfway line. Taking the ball forward he drew Whittle before placing the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. WINSFORD: Crellin; Robinson (Melia 45), Chambers, Marsh, Stanton; Durkan (Arnold 45), Drohan, Hughes, Wellstead; Hopley, Hutchinson (Williams 88).
Att: 114 Star Man: Lee Hughes, on top form Next Best: Barry Crellin Team Rating: 2 Match Rating: 2