Irlam Tiger Rangers battle to Whitehead Cup glory

Irlam Tiger Rangers survived a late onslaught to defeat Salford Albion 2-1 and lift the Whitehead Cup. 

In a weekend of tense finals, the cup competition for teams playing in Division A and B lived up to expectations as the Tigers toppled Albion, who had made the final without losing a single game. 

But Rangers upset the form book and two second-half goals from Sean Dawson and Tom Nelson gave them a commanding lead with 20 minutes to go. A late David Hudson goals ensured a nervy finish in the game played at West Didsbury & Chorlton, but Irlam deservedly held on. 

Irlam Tiger Rangers were rewarded for a performance in which they dominated the first half against the team who they finished runners-up to in the group stage of the Whitehead Cup competition. 

It was only a combination of superb goalkeeping from Michael Ayres and some heroic last ditch defending that kept Salford Albion level at the break. 

However, the Tigers put the first-half profligacy behind them and hit the front five minutes after the restart when their forward Dawson broke the deadlock, and when Nelson tapped in following a corner in the 70th minute, the game looked up for Albion.

However, they displayed the spirit and quality that has characterised their run to the final, and Hudson’s strike 10 minutes from time meant a nervy end to the game.

But Irlam survived the late surge to deservedly take victory and the trophy.