In one of the closest and most exciting Bird Cup finals for years, George IV of the Burnley Sunday Football League lifted the trophy after a penalty shoot out against East Lancashire League opponents Barrowford Celtic.
The tournament, sponsored by B-Inspired Training and Consultants Limited, commenced in pre-season, with George IV entering for the first time and finding themselves in a group with last year’s winners Trawden Tree.
They emerged from their group as winners and went on to defeat Crown in the quarter-finals and Burnley United in the semi-finals.
Celtic’s Scott McArdle opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of the final, after Adam Crew had been fouled.
Celtic continued to dominate early possession and were unlucky not to extend their lead when Simon Reid struck the foot of the post with a header from a well-worked corner.
George IV started to look more of a threat as the first half progressed and created a few openings, but found Celtic’s goalkeeper James Dacey in fine form.
The second half started with George IV dominating possession and creating the better chances, and it was no surprise when Danny Green equalised in the 55th minute with an excellent drive into the corner of the net from outside the area.
Green scored again for George midway through the second half with a deflected shot from close range to give the Burnley side the lead.
Barrowford Celtic made an attacking change to their formation, and they were rewarded five minutes from time when Adam Crew’s glancing header flew into the corner of the net, taking the game into a penalty shoot-out.
Wayne Morrison, Nathan Egan, Aron Chapman and Green had already converted their penalties for George IV when their goalkeeper Aiden McVay made an excellent save to his left from Celtic’s fifth penalty kick.
It was left to Dan Thompson to win the cup for his team as he struck his penalty into the left hand corner.
Philip Caine, the chairman of the XLCR Pendle Charity League, nominated George’s Green as man of the match and presented the trophies to the finalists.