Sky is the limit – Shifnal Town bosses after Senior Cup win seals treble success

Jubilant Shifnal Town have declared the sky is the limit after capping a memorable week with the first Shropshire Senior Cup crown in the club's history.

Town are celebrating a stunning treble success as Saturday's 4-0 Senior Cup rout of Whitchurch Alport added to Tuesday's TJ Vickers Cup win and promotion from the West Midlands Premier Division.

Dan Carter and Andrew Carrier's men missed out on a quadruple by way of a dramatic penalty shootout in the West Midlands Moving Forward Sports Cup – just hours earlier on Saturday afternoon after the side were forced to play on the same afternoon for the second weekend running.

They responded to a spot-kick defeat to OJM Black Country, following a 3-3 draw in which they led 2-0 and 3-2, on a rollercoaster afternoon in which, just a couple of hours later, Town were too strong for Whitchurch.

Brad Sharman netted twice in a man of the match display alongside strikes from Jay Holdcroft and Tom Hill as Shifnal downed Alport in a repeat of Tuesday's TJ Vickers final, which was won 2-0 at the New Bucks Head. Three of Town's goals arrived in the first half of the one-sided affair.

Shifnal have won promotion to the step five Midland Football League Premier Division, the first part of the joint-managers' five-year plan having been appointed in 2019. But the bosses are looking higher after a stunning end to a disjointed, Covid-19 hit campaign.

"There's no ceiling at the moment," said Carrier, who joined the club alongside Carter from Wednesfield in 2019. Carter added: "The plan was to be a step four club within five years, and challenging at the right end of step four.

"That's still got to be the case for us. We're going into a new league next year and we don't fear anyone in that league. But we're realistic as well.

"We're not going in there to make the numbers up. We're going to compete and hopefully be at the top end."

Carrier said: "We relayed to the lads before the game that we'd made a lot of noise, now let's go and win the trophy. We are trying to build as much of a fanbase as we can at Shifnal.

"Get down to Shifnal next season, we will entertain for 90 minutes and fight."

For the second weekend running the joint-managers had to contend with logistical nightmares as their squad and staff was stretched across two fixtures on the same afternoon, this time travelling from Tipton in the Black Country to Telford.

After winning two semi-finals seven days earlier, Shifnal's first final ended in heartbreak on penalties, and the managers admitted it was tough to take.

"We were demoralised coming to the game from the first one," Carter said. "It was always going to be a really tough ask to win both games. To lose on penalties, to then completely dominate – I'm absolutely buzzing, it shows the character and quality. We put them to the sword."

Carrier added: "The lads who played the second game were gutted as well (about the first), because we're in in together. We're in it as one. To get them up for the second was hard because we all felt the pain.

"We showed respect to Whitchurch and the scenes at the end in the changing room were unbelievable."

Impressive midfielder Sharman, who is just 19, climbed to head home Harry Cunningham's cross on 12 minutes. Winger Cunningham was the one Shifnal player to start both finals on the same afternoon. While four subs introduced in the second half against Alport played most of the final in Tipton.

Sharman thumped in a brilliant second from distance from a well-worked corner eight minutes later.

Attacking midfielder Holdcroft struck a fine third after cutting in from the left flank inside 35 minutes as Carrier and Carter's men worked a commanding advantage.

Striker Hill, Shifnal's top scorer of the last two seasons, turned home at the far post shortly into the second half as his side won at a canter.

Asked to sum up the experience of a chaotic and memorable week, Carrier said: "It's unheard of, at any level, I don't think anyone could field two teams in two semi-finals and two finals.

"We hoped to get one moved to Friday night to help out, even an earlier Saturday kick-off to help get here, but nothing went our way. We stood up and to put it away 4-0 after losing on penalties is excellent."

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