HAYWARD Sunday League Division Three champions Tuakana clinched the double with a 2-1 win over Division Two title favourites Gullivers Tavern Thursday night’s M A Hart In-Excess final at Hurn Bridge.
Gullivers had a lucky escape in the third minute when Tuakana marksman Dominic Taylor had the ball in the net but the whistle had already gone for an infringement.
Lee Taylor and Matt Nabney were a constant threat attacking down the left in the early stages for Tuakana and, from Taylor’s cross in the 15th minute, Shaun Waterman steered the ball past Gullivers’ goalkeeper Scott Evans to put them in front.
The lead was doubled eight minutes later when Leighton Speechley-Price’s free kick from just inside the Gullivers half was neatly brought under control and drilled home by Joe Turner.
There was another massive blow for Gullivers when their inspirational leading marksman Sacha Navarro was carried off on a stretcher on the half hour.
But they halved the deficit in first-half stoppage time when Luke McArdle powered a 30-yard effort over Tuakana keeper Nick Elliott and under the crossbar.
Tuakana had to endure sustained second-half pressure as Gullivers battled to get on terms but their defence held firm.
The Division Three champions’ prolific goalscorer Dominic Taylor had an opportunity to put the result beyond doubt when he burst through in the closing stages but was foiled by Evans.
Tuakana: Elliott, Danny Taylor (Spooner, 61), L Taylor (Bryant, 87), Gilbert, Williams, Turner, Waterman (Rimmer, 83), Booker, Dominic Taylor, Speechley-Price, Nabney.
Gullivers Tavern: Evans, Parker, Baker, McArdle, Grimes, Mitchell, Brooke, Spiers, Navarro (Welch, 30), Conroy, Carrigan (Daley, 73).