There are few guarantees in sport, but Mark Spavins managing the Hunts Intermediate Cup winners appears to be one of them.
Spavins masterminded a fourth triumph in the county competition in just six years last Wednesday night when Eynesbury Rovers Reserves’ debut campaign came complete with a silver lining.
The Hall Road club hadn’t won this trophy for 28 years, but for Spavins and several of his players, it has become second nature in recent times.
Howver, it was touch and go at the Premier Plus Stadium – the home of St Neots Town FC - as they had required penalties to see off fellow Kershaw Premier Division side Hemingfords United.
The two teams were locked together at 1-1 following 90 entertaining minutes, but it was the Rovers second string who triumphed 3-2 from the spot after a dramatic shoot-out.
“To win a county cup after 26 games of football as a new team is a huge achievement,” said delighted boss Spavins, who also steered Eaton Socon to glory in the two previous seasons after also winning the trophy with Great Paxton back in 2014.
“I cannot give enough credit to the whole team for the way they played on a night when there was nothing between the two teams for 90 minutes.
“But we managed to get the job done on penalties and there were amazing scenes when we lifted the trophy again.”
Rovers had the better opportunities in a blank first half. Dean Parratt and Ryan Baxter were denied by smart saves before Sam Piesse was thwarted by the post.
The deadlocked was eventually broken in the second period when leading Rovers scorer Lee Bassett providing a fitting finish to a slick move.
But it was not enough to secure victory as Jack Randall poked home an equaliser to ensure the contest would be settled from the spot.
That didn’t look like being a quick process as both goalkeeper – Rovers man Andrew Wale and Hemingfords number one Dan Porter – saved the first four penalties of the shoot-out.
But captain Bassett, substitute Aaron Rymer and Owen Dixon all obliged for Eynesbury before Hemingfords sent their final attempt crashing against the crossbar.
Hemingfords player-boss Cameron Anderson said: “It was a thrilling game played at a really fast pace from start to finish. Both teams had dominant spells and the draw was definitely the fair result at 90 minutes.
“All credit to Eynesbury for winning in the end, but losing on penalties is always so tough. My players were brilliant, though, and did themselves and the club proud.”