Lower league ‘invincibles’ unable to pull off memorable victory over cup perennials.

Boca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleBoca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Boca Seniors retained the Westward Ho! Cup with a 2-0 win against Sporting Barum at Barnstaple’s Mill Road ground this afternoon (Sunday).

Goals by Ben Ford and Aaron Harper-Penman were the difference for the North Devon Gazette League Premier Division side, playing against unbeaten Senior Division high-fliers Sporting Barum.

Boca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleBoca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Boca have won nine of the 12 Westward Ho! cup finals they’ve played in but this will surely rank among the least memorable.

Even manager Darren Todd had to admit that ‘it wasn’t pretty’. His team was made to work hard by a dogged Sporting side bolstered by the inclusion of Bideford Southern League forward Billy Tucker.

Boca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleBoca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

But Boca had an ace up their sleeve too in the form of Barnstaple Town’s Harper-Penman. Both made a number of key contributions to a game of relatively few chances following a lively opening 15 minutes.

Ben Ford slipped his marker to open the scoring for Boca with a header at the back post after just five minutes played.

Boca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleBoca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

The signs didn’t look good for the lower league side, but Tucker had other ideas, smashing against the crossbar following a trademark speed and swerve-laden-run three minutes later.

And on 12 minutes, a Tucker corner was blazed over the bar by Sporting right-back Luke Thorne, while at the other end Danny Jenkins fired wide when it looked easier to score.

Boca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleBoca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Sporting wasted a golden chance to level on the half-hour mark when Tucker raced through on Darren Babb’s goal but attempted to square to Damian Green rather than take the shot himself.

Five minutes before half-time, Boca’s Craig Sandle hit the side netting.

Boca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleBoca Seniors beat Sporting Barum 2-0 in the final of The Westward Ho! Cup at Mill Road, Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Todd had already been forced to bring on Jack Jenkins for goal scorer Ford due to a hamstring injury. And he made a second change at the break, bringing on Ryan Crompton for Adam Copp.

Former Boca talisman Matt Deakin nearly scored against his old club on 54 minutes, but could only watch as his effort sailed agonisingly across the goal line.

And when he sprinted clear 10 minutes later and squared to Tucker on the penalty spot, Babb saved brilliantly low to his left to deny Sporting an almost certain leveller.

It was the moment of the match – and certainly went a long way to earning Babb his man-of-the-match award.

Dan Found replaced the injured Kriss Boreham on 56 minutes and Sporting manager Josh Pearce threw on Barnstaple Town playmaker Jed Harper-Penman in a bid to force an equaliser.

But with 20 minutes to play, the game took an even bigger swing in Boca’s favour when Jed’s brother Aaron made it 2-0.

His first effort hit the bar but the former Barnstaple captain made no mistake when the rebound fell to his feet.

Sandle fired wide for Boca a minute later but there was little response from a weary Sporting side that, if nothing else, proved they have the credentials to handle themselves in the premier division should the likely promotion to the top flight become reality at the end of the month.

Boca Seniors (manager – Darren Tod):

Darren Babb

Ben Ford (Jack Jenkins 8mins)

Lewis Ovey

Aaron Harper-Penman

Lee Evans

Gary Skinner (Jimmy Hill 50mins)

Adam Copp (Ryan Crompton 45mins)

Ed Jenkins

Mark Turner

Craig Sandle (Elliot Whitecross 78mins)

Danny Jenkins (Carl Holliman 80mins)

Sporting Barum (manager – Josh Pearce)

Connor Davies

Luke Thorne

Kriss Boreham (Dan Found 56mins)

Stuart Cameron

Lee Fry

Lewis Goss

Kyle Spear

Liam Hawkins

Matt Deakin (Jed Harper-Penman 70mins)

Damian Green

Billy Tucker

Subs not used:

Lee Eate

Jack Cornel

Marcus Mahoney

Charlie Logie