A second-half hat-trick from Dan Moriarty helped Oxenhope bring the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup back to Keighley for the first time in 11 years.
The village team made a lightning start at Woodlesford to go three goals up against the cup favourites, who were chasing a league and cup quadruple.
Tom Marshall, Leon Smith and Sean Quinlan put Oxenhope on their way to glory and, although City chased the game, Rec put away their chances and were given a helping hand when a City defender was sent off midway through the second half.
126 teams entered the competition back in September but Oxenhope were crowned the county’s No.1.
A bumper-sized crowd witnessed the underdogs destroy the cup favourites with a superb all round team performance.
Oxenhope took the lead as early as the second minute, Michael Garnett collected the ball out on the left, the big striker went past his marker, got to the bye line, cut the ball back to Dan Moriarty, he delivered a weighted cross to the far post and Sean Quinlan was perfectly placed to put the ball away.
Leeds immediately broke down field from the re-start but keeper Sam Lee pulled out a top drawer save to deny them.
On the very next attack Oxenhope doubled their advantage, again it was Garnett who was the provider, going down the left flank he put in a measured cross to Leon Smith who stroked the ball into the net.
Leeds were now on the ropes and had to chase the game but their situation got a whole lot worse, when on the quarter hour defender Liam McNicol put a long ball over their defence for Tom Marshall to run onto and as the keeper came out Marshall clinically chipped the ball over him for the third as the Oxenhope supporters went wild.
They were brought back down to earth five minutes later as City swept down their left, crossed the ball to the far post and it was headed in to reduce the deficit.
Leeds now applied the pressure as they settled into their passing game but the Oxenhope back four of Scott Nelson, Ollie Metcalfe, Jason Walton and McNicol held firm and limited City to shots from distance, which keeper Lee dealt with comfortably.
Oxenhope were always dangerous on the break and were unlucky not to grab an unlikely fourth just before the break when McNicol went on a lung bursting run down the left, floated a ball across in to the far post which had the Leeds’ keeper back pedalling to fingertip the ball over the bar.
At half-time manager Sam Duffin and assistant Danny Heaney impressed on their players that it was all about effort and concentration in the second period and that the next goal would be crucial.
City started on the offensive but the Oxenhope defence once again soaked up the pressure.
Ten minutes in Smith put a through pass to Moriarty who chased the ball down, steadied himself and drove the ball over the keeper for Oxenhope’s fourth.
With a three goal cushion the underdogs could now relax and started to play their own quick passing style with the midfield engine room of Josh Kaine and Quinlan dominating the centre of the park.
The Worth Valley side’s expectations of a giant killing increased even further when Moriarty burst through into the penalty area, was pulled back by City’s skipper, who duly received a straight red, and Moriarty with a staccato run up coolly put away the resulting penalty in off the underside of the bar.
Leeds were now playing for their pride and struck back when a cross from the left was headed in to make the score 5-2.
Moriarty then struck a memorable sixth with the goal of the game and in so doing claiming his hat-trick.
Collecting the ball he drifted out wide, looked up and unleashed a ferocious shot from distance that smacked against the inside of the far post and into the net, amidst wild celebrations from the Oxenhope contingent behind the goal knowing they had witnessed an outstanding performance from their team.
Leeds did pull a third goal back late on but it did not matter as the County Cup was on its way back to the Recreation Ground.
The referee blew the final whistle amid mass celebrations, the Oxenhope players fell to their knees in disbelief that they had convincingly beaten a team that they had never beaten before in the league and that they had fulfilled the club’s dream of winning the County Cup.
In so doing they became only the third team from the Keighley area to have ever lifted the trophy following Keighley Central’s win in the 60s and Silsden’s treble success 11 years ago.
Man of the match and skipper Dan Moriarty along with injured and sidelined captain Ben White went forward to lift the coveted silverware in front of their delirious supporters and the club’s celebrations went on long into the early hours of the next morning.
Oxenhope: Lee, Nelson, McNicol, Metcalfe, Walton, Kaine, Smith (Morris), Moriarty, Garnett, Quinlan (Wells), Marshall (Day). Subs (not used): Hopkinson, Ritson.
West Riding County FA
Challenge Cup roll of honour:
1968: Keighley Central
2015: Oxenhope Rec
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