Bartlett strike hands cup to Littleport

SUPER cool 18-year-old Jon Bartlett handed his Littleport Town side victory in the Cliff Bullen cup final against Hardwick last week, holding his nerve to fire home from the penalty spot in the final stages of the game.

Littleport Town 3

Hardwick 2

Town started the final poorly and scarcely deserved to go into the interval level pegging at 1-1 even though David Cornwell had handed them the lead with a rocket shot from 20 yards out midway through the half. Hardwick levelled when Matt Parry conceded a penalty which was duly dispatched by the Cambridge-based team.

Manager Dave Cullum must have let rip with some choice words at half-time as Port came out fired up and performed much better than they had in a below-par first half display. Town took the lead again after 50 minutes through an unlikely source as Kevin Hills scored with a diving header for only his fifth goal of the season.

The lead was again short-lived though, as former Ely City Reserves ace Dean Nissan equalised for Hardwick with a free header from a corner to further fray the Littleport nerve endings. Port continued to play well as the minutes wore on and earned their reward when Daren Pryke was brought down in the area with 15 minutes remaining, paving the way for Bartlett to be the hero. Port then held aloft the Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup for the first time in its 100 years of existence to cap a fantastic season for Cullum’s team that also saw them finish fourth in the Kershaw Premier League.