Oakham United win the Rutland Cup after beating Cottesmore AFC in the final
Oakham United retained their grip on the Rutland Cup with a second consecutive shoot-out success of this year's competition to defeat Cottesmore in Saturday's final at Westray Park.
Seb Hayes' side had defeated Stamford Lions last weekend on penalties to secure their place in the final against hosts Cottesmore where they ran out 5-3 winners in the shoot-out to seal a deserved success.
Ed Sakovich had earlier given the Peterborough League Premier Division side a worthy lead which was cancelled out by an equaliser for the homesters with 20 minutes remaining.
Cottesmore had gone into the contest after producing a solid showing in last weekend's semi-final success over Peterborough League Premier Division champions Uppingham.
They were also boosted by the return to the club of Jordan Smith from higher level Holwell Sports while Eddie McDonald made a welcome appearance for a Cottesmore side who were without key defensive duo Aaron Ridout and Shaun Denigan as well as injured two-goal semi-final marksman Tom Caldicott.
However, they failed to rise to the occasion in the final and were unable to match the work-rate and desire of an energetic young Oakham side who were missing a number of players from last week's win including the influential trio of Alex McNally, Andy Buckle and Jacob Joyce.
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams and a slide-rule pass from Cemal Korkmaz creating an early opening for Julian Andre whose low shot was turned away at the near post by Cottesmore goalkeeper Alex Brown.
Oakham defender Aidan Quinn then made a vital block to thwart Morgan Heppleston's goalbound effort after Smith had pounced on an underhit back pass before Korkmaz sent a well-struck shot just wide of the home goal.
Stewart Lambie clipped a free-kick over the bar for the visitors from a dangerous position before Cottesmore went closest from a setpiece at similar range.
Colton Cropper's shot was parried by Oakham goalkeeper Jamie Stephens with Jake Culverwell hitting the rebound against the crossbar.
Cottesmore custodian Brown had to be alert to block at the feet of the lively Sakovich while Stephens was equal to Cropper's shot from distance.
Andre and Ceri Hayes also tried their luck with shots from outside the box while Quinn was again in the right place for a timely intervention to deny Craig McJanet as the opening half finished goalless.
Oakham took the initiative again after the break and got their noses in front close to the hour mark when Sakovich struck home a tidy finish into the far corner of the home net.
Going behind did spark a response from Cottesmore and they levelled within 15 minutes when Smith's near post saw Harry Stannard challenge the Oakham defence with the ball rocketing into the roof of the net.
Oakham though refused to be rocked by the setback of conceding an equaliser and Kieran Pledger fizzed an inviting shot narrowly wide while Ceri Hayes and Lambie linked well to tee up Sakovich whose shot was tipped away by the diving Brown.
Oakham were then reduced to 10 men for the final throes when Ceri Hayes was sin-binned for catching Andre Fontoura when in full flight.
Cottesmore looked to take advantage but Pledger produced a vital block to keep out a shot from Eddie McDonald as the tie went to a penalty shoot-out.
Lambie opened Oakham's account with Cropper replying for Cottesmore before United goalkeeper Stephens fired past his opposite number for a 2-1 advantage.
Stephens then made the vital save to keep out Harry Stannard's spot kick to give Oakham a lead that they never relinquished.
Trafford Crane put them 3-1 ahead and, although Danny Seals scored for Cottesmore, Andre netted again for Oakham.
Jordan Smith converted for Cottesmore to make the score 4-3 in Oakham's favour which left Sakovich to score the all-important winner for United and ensure back-to-back Rutland Cup wins.
The success will be the perfect confidence boost for Oakham ahead of what promises to be an open Peterborough League Premier Division campaign that starts at home to Warboys on August 13.
Cottesmore, on the other hand, will be hoping that the cup final defeat will eradicate any over-confidence or complacency for their Leicestershire Senior League season which begins on the same day at home to Magna 73.