Brading Town 1 v Shanklin 5
Shanklin clawed back a 14-point deficit to win the Division One Championship, after winning 5-1 away at Brading, and frustrating Whitecroft & Barton’s multi-year reign as champions.
Around 400 fans watched the league decider at Vicarage Lane, played out in glorious sunshine with three neutral officials. Brading kicked off downhill and determined to stop the Seasiders’ push for the title, pressed early on, securing a corner in the first 10 minutes with Todd Connor netting from close range off the cross-bar.
Brading continued to use the downhill advantage and Shanklin’s keeper was called on to make a series of saves. As Shanklin gradually came to terms with the pressure, they attacked down the right and captain Pete Wilson was fouled. George Carter-Knight’s touchline free kick beat the Brading defence for Wayne Newnham to glance home at 20 minutes, with the scores remaining level until half-time.
Shanklin, with two cup finals ahead, used squad rotation to bring in Wessex League players, Neo Lamb and Ji Nash.
Benefitting from manager Paul Hayward’s talk at the break, Shanklin started the second-half with discipline and determination, taking the lead after eight minutes with Macca Watterson’s 10-yard header from a corner for 2-1.
Maintaining momentum, Shanklin attacked down the left with George Carter-Knight crossing from the deadball line for Kyle Drew to volley in from inside the box for the goal of the game and a 3-1 lead. It was quickly extended to 4-1 when Drew finished a move started by Iain Seabrook and Nicky Vyse.
Shanklin rounded off their title-winning performance when Cory Sanderson made it 5-1 in a goalmouth scramble, with only minutes to go, enough time for Shanklin skipper, Pete Wilson, to return to the match, and lead the celebrations when the ref blew for full time.
Brading manager, Steve Lawton sportingly led the congratulations. He said: “Well done to all at Shanklin FC; the table doesn’t lie and the best team over the season sits at the top. We have given what we had and on the day it wasn’t enough.”
Shanklin manager, Paul Haward, added: “What a season with a great bunch of lads. Enjoy it lads; you all deserve it, and it’s not over yet!”