READING YMCA lost 4-1 to Cookham Dean in the Berkshire Trophy Centre Senior Cup final at Madejski Stadium after conceding three goals in the last 10 minutes.

YM had lifted the Thames Valley Premier League title without losing a game and defeated Cookham 4-1 earlier in the month. They had also beaten them in the Maidenhead Norfolkian Cup final.

But they were sent reeling by Dean’s smash and grab raid which stunned a crowd of about 400 as they lifted the cup for the second successive year.

However, YM had been dealt a major blow the day before when they heard the sad news that the father of manager Karl Curtis had died.

Curtis missed the game to be with his family, handing over the reins to his assistant Glen Goudie. A minute’s silence was also observed before the kick-off.

The YM players desperately wanted to win the game for Curtis, but it wasn’t to be.

There were early chances at both ends before Dean took a ninth-minute lead.

Keeper Jamie Froude wasn’t able to cut out Scott Jackson’s corner and Paul Sharpe fired home.

Royal Borough Observer:

PHOTO: Cookham Dean lift the Berkshire Trophy Centre Senior Cup at the Madejski Stadium.

YM hit back and went close to equalising several times, but had to wait until stoppage time at the end of the first half before Ryan Adams deservedly brought them level.

They carried on attacking at the start of the second half and it looked only a matter of time before they would take the lead.

But Cookham defended stoutly, with even their midfielders dropping deep, though this did leave their attack isolated at times.

However, they were sharp on the counter-attack and caught YM badly out of position to regain the lead in the 82nd minute.

Lee Hawkins found himself in space and from 25 yards fired a low shot into the net, although keeper Froude will be disappointed with himself for being beaten from that distance.

Any hopes the Reading side had of getting back on terms ended in the 88th minute when Mark Froude brought down Kai Murphy-Douglas and Scott Jackson made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Only the crossbar prevented Jordon Cox pulling one back for YM and they had Adams sent off following two cautions before Murphy-Douglas rounded off a smart move by lobbing home the fourth goal deep into stoppage time.

It was the fifth time Cookham had won the trophy, taking them one clear of Mortimer.

Royal Borough Observer:

PHOTO: Cookham Dean celebrate a goal in the 4-1 win against Reading YMCA.

After the game Goudie commented: “Karl’s father had been ill for some time and Karl knew he might not make it beyond the weekend.

“Karl asked me to step up and help manage the team.

“It was an honour to do that, but to be honest I felt a bit uncomfortable with Karl not being here, as it is his team and they have had a fantastic season winning the league unbeaten.

“We’ve had an outstanding season and I’m absolutely delighted with the progress we have made since August when it looked like we are going to struggle with players.

“But we all rallied together and built up a strong squad and it’s now one that can go on to win more trophies.”

YM’s impressive Dan Donegan was presented with the Premier Division’s Golden Boot, although it was a triple tie with Newbury’s Dan Langford and Liam Bushay of Marlow United also finishing with 25 goals.

Maidenhead Magpies ace Nathan Lishman took the Division One award with 26 goals, one more than Division Two winner, Dan Nicholson of Westwood United Reserves, while Division Three’s hottest shot was Asa Povey with 29 goals for Woodley United A.

But the league’s top marksman came in Division Four, where Jordan Sawyer netted 41 times for champions South Reading.

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