Jersey FA Cup final: St Brelade beat Madeira FC on spot kicks

Jersey FA Cup final: St Brelade beat Madeira FC on spot kicks
St Brelade won the penalty shoot-out 4-2 against Madeira FC at Springfield

A year on from tasting Jersey FA Cup final defeat, St Brelade could celebrate lifting the trophy themselves thanks to a hard-fought win, on penalties, over second-tier Madeira FC.

The Premiership 2 side, who had a memorable run of results to reach the final, were ahead inside three minutes at Springfield when Henrique Cristovao got in behind the St Brelade defence to toe-poke the ball home.

The Fish were soon level through defender Kris McAdam, and edged in front when their top-scorer Kieran Lester capitalised on a misplaced throw-in and calmly knocked the ball into an empty net.

Again, the lead didn't last long, as Madeira right-back Joao Sousa volleyed in just before the hour mark to make it 2-2.

Neither team could find a winner in extra time, despite Madeira playing the last 15 minutes with ten men after skipper Carlos Silva was shown red by referee Harry Walker for a second bookable offence.

So, to penalties, and both teams found the target with their first two spot kicks. Goalkeeper Josh Jehan was to be the hero, saving first from Andrew Gomes and then Bruno Barroca as St Brelade took the win 4-2 and lifted the century-old Le Riche Cup.

Kris McAdam at Springfield
Kris McAdam netted in the first half to make it 1-1 at Springfield

While all first teams, regardless of division, have been able to enter since 1980, the island’s premier knock-out competition was further expanded in 2019, along with a rebrand to the Jersey FA Cup, allowing clubs to enter a second side. Madeira FC's surprise place in the final was no fluke, though, having despatched Premiership 1 leaders St Clement 1-0 in their semi-final, which followed a 2-1 win over Grouville's first team in the quarters back in January.

In search of a third consecutive upset they started brightly in the warm evening sunshine, as the smell of one of the first barbecues of the year drifted across Springfield. They were ahead after just 150 seconds. Cristovao, who looked lively all night, timed his run well and nipped in to prod the opener past the onrushing Jehan.

Ten minutes later and it was all square, when the ball dropped to McAdam and his low, well-controlled effort found the back of the net.

Madeira, who looked particularly dangerous on the break, went closest to a second goal before the break, but Diogo Velosa's strike cannoned back off the crossbar.

St Brelade were last season's beaten finalists, losing 4-1 against St Peter in April 2023

St Brelade's journey to the final started back in October with an 11-0 thumping of Trinity. They followed that with a 13-2 triumph over St Helyi, a walkover in the last eight, and then a 3-2 win against St Paul's in the semis to seal a spot in this final.

They went ahead for the first time when ever-alert Golden Boot contender Lester, back from a three-match suspension, latched onto a throw-in intended for goalkeeper Claudio Sousa and took his time to score into the empty net from just a few inches out. 28 goals in 28 appearances for Lester this campaign - he's hot on Karl Hinds' heels in the race for top-scorer honours as we enter the last few weeks of the season.

Decio Alves' side produced an instant response, and were back on levels terms within a couple of minutes. Jehan's initial save fell into the path of Joao Sousa who'd got himself forward and neatly volleyed home.

Madeira substitute Joshua Gordinho forced Jehan into a sharp, reflex save to keep it at 2-2, before Cristovao's half-volley from 25 yards went narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

Four minutes into stoppage time Logan McGhee had a chance to win it at the other end but his side-footed effort was tipped wide by goalkeeper Sousa to ensure the Springfield crowd, who'd turned up in good numbers, would be treated to an extra 30 minutes.

Madeira v St Brelade action
As well as their run to the final, Madeira have won 10 of their 12 league games this season

What was looking like a comparatively uneventful first period of extra-time took a turn and sprung into life in its closing moments, first when Sousa pulled off an excellent double save to keep it level.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Madeira were reduced to ten men with Silva shown a second yellow, for a foul near halfway. Playing the biggest game in their short history, with their captain back in the changing room, the Premiership 2 side battled on.

Despite plenty of endeavour from both finalists, there was to be no winning goal and spot-kicks would decide this relatively even match, which suggests Madeira would likely hold their own in Premiership 1 next season.

At the Robin Hood end, Declan O'Connell and Lester netted their penalties, with Victor Jardim and Cristovao successfully responding for Madeira. Rafa Andrade calmly slotted in to make it 3-2 before the first save of the shoot-out, as Jehan kept out the effort from Gomes.

Jack Gibson extended the St Brelade advantage to 4-2 meaning Barroca had to score. Jehan palmed it away. 12 months on, the Fish could celebrate.

Madeira: Claudio Sousa, Joao Sousa, Nelson Vieira, Andrew Gomes, Rui Vieira, Carlos Silva (c), Pedro Rosario, Bruno Barroca, Victor Jardim, Diogo Velosa, Henrique Cristovao. Subs: Ivan Freitas, Joshua Gordinho, Antonio Vidinha, Manuel Baltasar, Jose Freitas.

St Brelade: Josh Jehan, Rafa Andrade, Ed Jeffries, Declan O'Connell (c), Kris McAdam, Kieran Queree, Bradley Stratford, Mikey Weir, Kieran Lester, Logan McGhee, Connor Maher. Subs: Will Yates, Jack Gibson, Joe Tilstone, Jake Huckerby, Dan Andrade.

HT: 1-1. FT: 2-2. AET: 2-2. PEN: 2-4.