Bartley Green 2 Fairfield Villa 0

On a filthy night at the Victoria Ground the Smedley Crooke Memorial Trophy final turned out to be an instantly forgettable affair for all but the victorious club’s supporters.

The heavens opened minutes before kick-off prefacing a dour affair with few goalmouth chances and precious few coherent passages played on a pudding of a pitch. Those of us whose clubs fell by the wayside en route to the final could only look on incredulously.

The game’s only goalmouth action was condensed into seven decisive second-half minutes, starting when Bartley Green’s Gareth Davies exposed Fairfield keeper Marc Rogers’ immobility by cracking a shot against the post in the 68th minute.

Less than a minute later Davies played in half-time sub Rhys Morgan behind a scattered Fairfield defence and the latter fired coolly across Rogers and in, although the nearby supporter who commented ‘well, it was certainly coming’, was clearly an optimist.

For all the world it looked as though both teams could have played on for a week without creating any further chances so it came as a surprise when underdogs Fairfield – who play a division below their Halesowen-based opponents and were only in the final after Pershore were removed from the contest – almost conjured a 75th-minute equaliser.

Craig Cosgrove cut inside from the right onto his left foot and sent a delightful dipping effort on to the top of a relieved Adam Lane’s crossbar.

The likeliest source of a goal in the first half looked to be from the substantial Fairfield goalkeeper who flailed an air shot at a defensive colleague’s 13-minute back-pass before running through treacle across the area to try and recover the situation. In a race against Davies there looked only one winner but Fairfield’s former Bromsgrove and Redditch regular Steve Frost salvaged the situation by unceremoniously chopping down the Bartley Green striker in the area with Halesowen referee Rob Osborne astonishingly waving play on.

Rogers was almost caught out again eight minutes later when a back-header from Lewis Cosgrove again had him scrambling across goal in unedifying fashion but the keeper did well to stop a Mike Wardle effort in the 42nd minute. In between, Mr Osborne had delivered another mystifying decision when failing to book Bartley Green’s Don Mroczkowski for a cynical hack at Lewis Smith.

The second-half featured similar refereeing aberrations with Green’s Keith Draper escaping sanction for a deliberate handball in the 61st minute that stopped a rare Fairfield foray and Rogers escaping with only a booking after trundling off his line and handling outside his area to halt a Bartley Green attack in the second minute of injury time.

By that stage Mr Osborne could afford to be generous, Bartley Green having added a decisive second in the 91st minute when sub Olly Statham advanced onto a Mark Wolsey ball down the left, stepped inside a defender and fired in low past Rogers.

Teams, Bartley Green: Adam Lane, Mark Wolsey, Jamie Parker (John Willetts, 58min), Don Mroczkowski, Rory McFarlane, Max Bissell, Carl Tromans, Mike Wardle (Rhys Morgan, HT), Jim Darby (Olly Statham, 79), Gareth Davies, Keith Draper. Subs not used: Jordan Siviter, Amadou Jallow.

Fairfield Villa: Marc Rogers, Lewis Cosgrove, Andy Pike (Dean Beagan, 67), Jamie Hatfield, Steve Frost, Matty Harris, Craig Cosgrove, David Rousell, Scott Gaffney (Stephen Roche, 72), Lewis Smith, Spencer Hicks-Kenwood (Jonathan Rogers, 72). Subs not used: Ben Timbrell, Scott Walsh. Booked: Hatfield, 71, foul.