Tempest United emerged victorious in the final of the Bolton Hospital Cup last Friday evening, defeating Daisy Hill 1-0 at the Neuven Stadium in Radcliffe, writes Ian Templeman.

Jordan Pendlebury was the Tempest match winner, slotting home the only goal of the game with six minutes remaining, having enjoyed a lively spell up front after joining the action as a substitute in the 56th minute.

It was no more than Tempest deserved on the night, as they more than matched up against a Daisy Hill side who play at one level above them in the non-league pyramid, and only profligate finishing in front of goal denied the Chew Moor outfit a bigger winning margin.

The victory also continued Tempest manager Ross McNair’s remarkable run in the competition, with this second Hospital Cup triumph as manager at Tempest adding to his three wins as a player with Atherton LR.

McNair was understandably delighted at his side’s performance after the game.

“Cup finals are always going to be close games, although to be fair, I don’t think many people fancied us”, said the Tempest boss.

“We knew it would be a tough game, but I think we were the better side.

“Daisy have been in good form, but we have too, and I just thought we deserved it on the night.

“We created the better chances, but we always knew there was going to be a threat.

"When you have a player like (Daisy Hill captain) Connor Hughes, he is going to create opportunities, he is a good player.

“But I think we kept him quiet, especially in the second half when we stopped them getting the ball to him up top and overall, with the chances we had, we could finished two or three up.

“The disappointing thing was with the chances we had, we didn’t hit the target.

“Our keeper made a good save in the second half from a shot which, from where I was, I thought was going in, and you need that in a cup final, having your keeper on top form and he was.

“We made some big decisions, putting Aaron Thorpe and Jordan Pendlebury on the bench. Jordan has just come back from injury, and we always knew that by putting them on they would always be a threat.

“Jordan is very quick, he offered something different when he came on and obviously got our goal, and Thorpey worked his socks off and could have a goal himself late on, but skied it over the bar.

“But I had 16 lads there, who put in a lot of effort, showed a lot of belief, and we got our just rewards. It’s a great end to the season for us”.

In the opposition camp, Daisy Hill manager Leighton Mills paid tribute to Tempest’s display, and accepted they had been the better side on the night.

“Fair play and all credit to them, they came here and did a job on us”, said Mills.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and we were set up right, just like we have been all season. But we just didn’t show up.

“It’s probably the worst we’ve played all season, although you could say that is down to Tempest, and that they made us play that way.

“They set up well, forced the errors, and I want to give full credit to them, I don’t want to take anything away from them.

“Their number 10 (Matty Davies, who won the man of the match award) caused us no end of problems, he ran us ragged and we played into their hands.

“They came and played good football, they played to their strengths by playing into Davies, who is very good player and will cause problems to a lot of teams.

“I am not looking for excuses, it’s a cup final and you should get yourself up for it, but we just didn’t show up, it’s as plain and simple as that.

“You don’t mind losing so much if your squad has turned up and played well enough and been unlucky, but we’ve done absolutely nothing to win that game of football.

“It’s shame to finish the season by losing a cup final, but at least we got here, which is a positive.

“But we’ve let the club down, and our group of players won’t want to feel that sort of hurt again. For now, we take a break and then get ready for next season”.

With fine weather and an immaculate playing surface, conditions were perfect for local football’s traditional end of season finale, and a record attendance for a Hospital Cup final of 815 spectators were treated to an entertaining game which flowed from end to end throughout, and could easily have produced more than one goal.

Daisy made the early running and created the first chance of the game on 7 minutes, when Dean Singleton headed wide at the far post from a Tom Brown free kick.

A Connor Hughes shot then missed the target before a Cameron Lewarne header was held by Tempest keeper Nathan Pennington.

Tempest’s first clear chance arrived at the midway point of the first half, when a Tom Booth shot was pushed away to safety by Daisy keeper Morgan Newns, and from the resulting corner Liam Rice headed just over.

The game had settled into a fast paced rhythm, and the chances continued to be created at both ends, with a Brown 30 yarder well saved by Tempest keeper Pennington, while at the other end Daisy centre half Dean Singleton got a crucial block on a Joel Shorthouse cross just ahead of Kurtis Farlow in the six yard box.

With man of the match Matty Davies causing the Daisy defence problems with his runs down the channels and holding up play, Tempest finished the half in the ascendancy and Shorthouse came desperately close to giving his side a half time lead when he rifled a shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area.

After the break, play continued to flow from end to end, but the introduction of Jordan Pendlebury as a substitute for Tempest just before the hour freshened up the Tempest front line, and his first touch was to tee up Davies for a shot that was deflected wide.

However, just after the midway point in the half, Tempest skipper Jordan Coop was perhaps fortunate to only be shown a yellow card when he tripped Bruno Severino as the Daisy attacker turned to head towards goal with no covering defender ahead of him.

With 18 minutes remaining, Tempest keeper Pennington made the save of the night when he tipped over a cracking 25 yarder from Daisy right back Lewarne.

But as the game entered the closing stages, the pacy threat of Pendlebury was causing increasing concern to the Daisy defence, and after he just failed to connect with a cross driven low into the box, he finally made the crucial breakthrough with six minutes remaining

A long free kick was fired deep into the edge of the penalty area was flicked into the path of Davies, whose first time shot was parried by Daisy keeper Morgan Newns into the path of Pendlebury, who tucked the ball away from close range.

Three minutes later, Tempest could have doubled their lead when Davies drove a low ball across the face of goal to Tempest’s other substitute Aaron Thorpe, but he somehow screwed the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

In the end it was academic, and Tempest United saw out the remaining minutes safely to pick up the trophy for the fourth time in the history of the competition.