County cup joy for penalty kings Castle Acre Swifts

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Castle Acre Swifts from the Crown Fire Central & South Norfolk League lifted the Norfolk Junior Cup on Saturday night to complete a memorable double.

The league champions beat Sprowston Athletic 7-6 on penalties in the showdown played at Carrow Road, and which was held after the Norwich City versus Ipswich Town play-off match.

There was double celebration in Norwich that day for minnows the Swifts as well as the Canaries, who beat their local rivals the Tractor Boys 4-2 on aggregate in the clash dubbed as “Farmageddon” to reach the Wembley final which will be played this bank holiday weekend.

It was deadlocked between Swifts and Sprowston at 1-1 after 90 minutes, and there was no further scoring in extra time.

But Castle Acre, who also carried off the Crown Fire Division One title by a margin of nine points over second-placed Yaxham. held their nerve in the spot-kicks.

Redgate Rangers from Hunstanton reached the semi-final but were knocked out 4-1 by Sprowston, who also disposed of Gayton United in the previous round.

In the quarter-final Swifts beat Mundford 3-2 at home, also after extra time when it had finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Swifts also had to get past Loddon, Poringland Wanderers Reserves, Grange FC and Mariners FC on their journey to Carrow Road.

In the final deciding match in Crown Fire Division One, Swifts beat Tacolneston 2-1 to ‘crown’ a superb campaign in which they won 15 out of 16 games.

Castle Acre, managed by ex-Swaffham boss Lucian Hodkinson, scored 99 goals and conceded just 12.

Meanwhile, Narborough are the Division Two champions and thereby reclaim their place in the top flight for next season.

Their 2-2 draw with Beetley Bees gave them the title by two points over Beetley who, at least, have the satisfaction of achieving Division One football for the first time since joining the league.

Castle Acre Swifts Res took the runners-up medals in Division Three.