Ilfracombe Town Thirds win Arlington Cup with late comeback

Ilfracombe Town Thirds were the winners of the Arlington Cup on Saturday. Picture: Rob Bates

Ilfracombe Town Thirds were the winners of the Arlington Cup on Saturday. Picture: Rob Bates - Credit: Archant

The Bluiebirds scored a last-minute winner to beat Equalizers 4-3

Ilfracombe Town Thirds completed an incredible second half comeback to get their hands on the Arlington Cup.

A last-minute goal from Sean Smith ensured the Bluebirds beat Equalizers 4-3 in Saturday evening’s final at Torrington’s Vicarage Field.

It was the first time Ilfracombe had been ahead over the course of the game, after battling back from 3-1 down.

Equalizers had raced ahead with goals from Steven Isaac, Josh Jarrett and Philip Murrey giving them the two goal cusion 10 minutes into the second half.

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James Harker had scored for Ilfracombe just before half time.

It was Harker who began the comeback, making it 3-2 after tapping in.

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Substitute Matthew Pudwell levelled things up with 10 minutes remaining when he poked the ball in amongst a goalmouth scramble.

Then in the final minute, Connor Davey’s cross was headed towards goal by David Slade for Smith to poke it home.

Manager Jordan Alcock said: “We went 2-0 down and I was thinking ‘here we go’.

“We managed to get back to 2-1, then they had what I thought was a very dubious penalty and I thought that was it.

“My lads were tremendous. Their fitness showed by going on to win the game.

“To get it in the last minute, I was absolutely delighted and I was for the squad.”

The cup win means Ilfracombe are on for a league and cup double in their first season in Intermediate One.

A crucial fixture in deciding the title race comes on Saturday, when the Bluebirds meet Braunton Thirds in a game of first-versus-second.

“At the start of the season I was quite worried with what was happening and I thought it was going to be a struggle,” Alcock said.

“As it’s gone on, we’ve got bigger and better and now we’re second in the league.”

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