TRAFFORD won a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Gigg Lane on Monday night to lift the Manchester Premier Cup for the first time.
Garry Vaughan’s side started the game as underdogs against opponents from the Conference Premier Division and fell behind after just five minutes when a long ball out of defence by Rhys Day was misjudged by Tom Read and David Poole squeezed his shot home from the narrowest of angles.
Read immediately made amends with a fine save from the speedy and tricky Connor Hughes and then touched a Liam Tomsett drive from 20 yards onto the crossbar as Hyde surged forward in search of a second.
Poole chipped the ball onto the roof of the net before Trafford had their first attempt at goal in the 25th minute when Paul Ashton’s low drive was fumbled by Ashley Frith but no one was on hand to tap in the rebound.
Read thwarted dangerman Hughes once again with a reflex save at the near post and Adam Blakeman flighted a free kick just over as Hyde threatened to overwhelm a Trafford side who were struggling to come to terms with the pace of their opponents.
However, in the 37th minute, and completely against the run of play, the Evo Stik League outfit strung together a great move that ended with Tom Schofield chipping the ball over the Hyde defence and Martyn Andrews heading over Frith to make it 1-1.
Hyde were stung by this equaliser and immediately penned Trafford back inside their own half, Regan Walker driving inches over from 20 yards and Liam Tomsett crashing in two low shots that were superbly saved by Read.
And on the stroke of half-time Read was the saviour once again when he pushed Walker’s goal-bound drive past the post after the impressive striker had skipped past Rees Walsh.
Trafford’s second half performance was a revelation as they mounted attack after attack and dominated possession.
Quicksilver striker Shelton Payne began to torment the Hyde defence and was unceremoniously bundled to the ground in the 66th minute by Day. Payne dusted himself down and curled a magnificent free kick in off the crossbar to put his team ahead and send the large contingent of Trafford fans wild with delight.
An upset was on the cards and in the 72nd minute Chris Palmer somehow failed to connect with an Andy Smart free kick from just four yards out.
Martyn Andrews cracked a fine low drive that was held at full length by Frith as Payne’s pace caused havoc in the Hyde defence but then disaster struck in the 83rd minute when Hughes cut in from the right and delivered a low shot that appeared to wrong foot Read and creep into the bottom corner to make it 2-2.
Trafford pushed forward in search of the winner and in the dying seconds another penetrating run by Payne ended with a low cross that substitute Joe Shaw came agonisingly close to turning home.
And so to the penalty shoot-out and just as a year ago in their promotion clinching victory at Cammell Laird, Trafford were supreme. Martyn Andrews, Andy Smart, Tom Schofield and Shelton Payne all expertly converted their spot kicks while David Poole and Connor Hughes missed the target to give Trafford a 4-2 victory.
Skipper Andrews collected the trophy from Manchester County FA President Frank Hannah and a marvellous season in which Trafford had finished 10th in the Evo Stik League Premier Divison was complete.