Knockout season for Eccleshill United

Scorer Marcus Edwards is jumped on as Eccleshill United celebrate retaining the West Riding County Cup

Scorer Marcus Edwards is jumped on as Eccleshill United celebrate retaining the West Riding County Cup

First published in Sport by

Eccleshill United missed out on the biggest cup competition by failing to qualify for the FA Cup after a poor 2012-13 but 2013-14 will live long in the memory at Plumpton Park thanks to their knockout exploits.

Lee Duxbury’s side enjoyed a good victory as renowned cup battlers Bishop Auckland were put to the sword in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase but that competition was soon over for another year as the Eagles were beaten 1-0 by Thackley in the next round.

However, Duxbury’s men were unbeaten in the West Riding County Cup and lost in the Northern Counties East League Cup final.

The showpiece finals of both competitions were held at Bradford City.

Mark Ellis, the Eagles’ director of football who is a former Bantam, likened Eccleshill’s achievement of reaching Valley Parade twice in the same season to City’s success the previous term when they twice went to Wembley. And, just like their neighbours, Eccleshill won one and lost one on the big stage.

The Eagles had to play their first round League Cup tie at Thackley’s Dennyfield because the Rapid Solicitors Stadium had suffered storm damage.

In the second round, they were drawn at another local rival, but beat Albion Sports 3-1.

Then the Division One outfit knocked another Premier Division side out - Tadcaster Albion, who were leading the higher tier at the time.

Another side from the higher division, Heanor Town, were overcome in a tight 4-3 semi-final victory but the Eagles lost the final to Division One counterparts Knaresborough Town on penalties after 120 minutes failed to separate the sides.

There is one trophy in the cabinet at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, however - the West Riding County Cup.

In an unbelievable run to the final, the Eagles beat NCEL Premier Division sides, Farsley from the Evo-Stik League, NCEL Premier Division winners Brighouse Town and Conference North Guiseley in the semi.

Guiseley’s Conference North counterparts Harrogate Town awaited in the final and, as the game seemed destined for extra-time, the Eagles were awarded a penalty following handball in the area, and Marcus Edwards held his nerve to win Duxbury’s side the trophy.

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