Coppice United became the first team to retain the Asian Image Cup.
The tournament held over the May Bank Holiday weekend saw the Oldham side come back from behind in both the semi-final and the final to clinch the trophy for two years on the bounce.
In the final for large periods they looked like they would suffer at the hands of rejuvenated Blackburn FC team but two goals in a space of minutes turned the game on its head. And when they got a
sniff of victory Coppice stood firm to become North West champions once again.
Whilst it may not have been the most convincing of performances one had to admire the determination of this Coppice team.
When they were down and out they fought back well to wi n the trophy for the third time in five years.
In the final Blackburn had more of the possession and should have gone ahead through a header in the first few moments.
Hussain was finding a lot of space on the left and looked the most threatening.
The Blackburn pressure soon paid-off though as Shakeel Butt scored a great goal from the edge of the box.
It was what the Blackburn team had deserved in those first 20 minutes as they made Coppice chase the ball.
Mid-way through the half though Coppice began to get going as O’Connell started to find more space.
It was fascinating battle in the middle as both Patel and Hafeji imposed their presence on the game to stop Coppice threading those intricate balls through.
Finally, Barrow found himself free on the left and his shot was saved.
The resulting corner led to a scramble in the box which was half cleared. The loose ball was finally forced home by Ali.
The turning point in the game came when Coppice were awarded a controversial penalty as half-time beckoned. The kick was calmly slotted home by Younis to put the Oldham team 2-1 ahead.
Once ahead they looked a different team altogether and Blackburn had to call upon their most experienced defenders to stop Coppice from taking complete control.
The second half saw Blackburn create two more chances but two match winning tackles by captain Shez kept his side in the lead.
On the break Coppice always looked dangerous. The likes of Shabbir Ali and Ahmed used every last bit of energy they had to break up Blackburn’s attacks.
Coppice got their third goal when the ball fell to Khurram on the edge of the box. He only needed a second aim and lashed it into the top corner to send the Coppice fans wild.
Blackburn were not done yet though and teenager Nabeel was the first to react in the box to put his side back into the game with ten minutes to go.
Another two chances went begging for Blackburn but this was always going to be Coppice’s day when in injury time Barrow broke free again to release Ali who made it 4-2.
Blackburn may count themselves unlucky but Coppice kept their shape well and worked hard to win back possession. It was a defining feature of this team.- they simply do not know when they are beat.
Who’s to say they won’t make it three in a row next year?
Big thank you to: Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Ali, Ali Tilley, Iqbal Bhai, Naveed Aslam, Shahid Iqbal. The staff at the Blackburn Rovers football Academy for their assistance over the weekend.