LEDBURY Town eased the pain of missing out on the league title last weekend by beating Tenbury United on penalties to lift the Herefordshire Charity Bowl trophy on Wednesday night. 

Still smarting from somehow losing their grip on the Herefordshire Football League Premier, Ledbury came into the cup contest knowing it was their final chance to end the season with some silverware.

Despite their disappointment, Ledbury began the game well, eager to end the 2022/23 campaign in style. They took the lead 23 minutes into the game when Josh Burns headed home from a Ben Miller cross. 

Burns grabbed his and Ledbury's second with 10 minutes left on the half when a pass back from a Tenbury defender was short, leaving the Ledbury man to capitalise, round the keeper and slot home. 

With a 2-0 lead at the break, Ian Merrick's side had one hand on the trophy but they failed to build on that score in the second-half and their lead was halved only six minutes after the restart. 

And then, just as they did in catastrophic style in their league game with Welland the weekend before last, Ledbury conceded in the final stages as a scramble in the box ended with the Tenbury striker poking home to send the tie to penalties. 

As far as shootouts go, this was a very high quality one as both sides scored their opening four kicks each to make it 4-4 as sudden death approached. 

But Tenbury cracked first, firing their fifth penalty over the bar, giving Ledbury's Burns the chance to win the cup.

And the man of the match on the day stepped up and buried his kick to spark wild celebrations amongst the Ledbury players and coaches. 

Having missed out on the title, this cup win will at least mean the team end their season with a trophy. It is not the trophy they wanted but it is one that replicates their efforts in the last nine months. 

After the game, manager Merrick said: "7th season as a grassroots coach completed, and the first bit of silverware. A nice way to end a difficult end to the season after just missing out on the league.

"Thanks to all the players, the committee and the best chairman about. To these 3 guys, I couldn’t have done without it you." 

Ledbury Reporter: Ian Merrick (middle with trophy) celebrates the cup win with his coaching staff.Ian Merrick (middle with trophy) celebrates the cup win with his coaching staff. (Image: Ian Merrick)