New College Durham defeated Newcastle College 3-2 with a dramatic extra-time winner to claim their third consecutive North East College League Cup trophy.

Goals from Ashley Jenkins and Josh Keys gave Durham their third consecutive NECL Cup title after Newcastle twice came from behind only to be denied in extra-time by a 97th-minute winner from Danny Greenhalgh.

Within the opening five minutes of the match, Durham created the first chance through Greenhalgh who lobbed the ball just wide of the Newcastle College goal after being played in by captain – Josh Keys.

Durham were able to break the deadlock just a few minutes later with Jenkins getting the first goal of the day, slotting the ball under the goalkeeper’s legs to give his side a well-deserved lead with 17 minutes gone.

Their lead, however, didn’t last long with Newcastle College being awarded a penalty after a needless challenge from Durham goalkeeper George Tomlinson. From the resulting spot kick, the home side stepped up and comfortably dispatched the penalty, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and bringing the scores level going into half-time.

From the resulting spot kick, the home side stepped up and comfortably dispatched the penalty, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and bringing the scores level going into half-time.

The second half began with chances for both sides, as Durham’s Greenhalgh forced a decent save from the Newcastle goalkeeper before blazing his rebound over the crossbar after a cut back from teammate Darren Leighton-Winder. Shortly after, Newcastle forced a rare attack of their own, shooting just wide from six yards out.

In the 58th minute, Durham regained the lead when a free-kick out wide was swung into the box towards striker Jona who was on hand to head it back across goal for Keys to tap home.

With 10 minutes remaining hopes of a Newcastle equaliser looked to fade when their centre-back was shown a second yellow card for a nasty challenge on Ashley Jenkins. Soon after, ten became nine, when the goalkeeper was shown a straight red for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity as he fouled Greenhalgh outside the box.

Following the Durham free-kick, Newcastle hit them on the counter attack and were able to win a free-kick of their own from roughly 22 yards out and quite sensationally scored, a lovely curl over the wall in which Tomlinson could do nothing about it. Scenes of disbelief all around the ground as we were heading for extra time.

Durham almost took the lead early in extra-time with Leighton-Winder hitting the crossbar after a thunderous strike from just outside the area. Just two minutes later Durham, for the third time this match went back in front with a goalmouth scramble in which Greenhalgh got the final touch, poking in what turned out to be a pivotal goal for himself and the rest of the team.

For a record third year in succession, Durham came away once again with the NECL Cup title which will make narrowly missing out on the North Eastern County League title earlier this season hurt significantly less.

New College Durham – Tomlinson, Ewan, Isak, Aaron, Jenkins, Liaghi, Waters, Leighton-Winder, Keys, Greenhalgh, Jona

Subs: Logan, Bailey, Lander, Kidwell, Monaghan

Subs not used: Lander, Monaghan

Man of the Match – Ash Liaghi