OTLEY Town deservedly made it through to the Wharfedale and District FA Challenge Cup Final for the first time in four years where they will meet the winners of the outstanding tie between Cup favourites Rawdon Old Boys and Baildon Trinity Athletic.

The score line would suggest that this was a close game but Otley were by far the better side and it was only their lack of clinical finishing that stopped this being a rout and kept the game interesting to the end.

Bramhope have a team big in stature and it was obvious from the start that they would try to exploit their aerial advantage. Indeed their equaliser on seventeen minutes - whilst avoidable from an Otley point of view - came when a flicked header was finished by a fleet footed winger.

Otley had started the game in confident style and could quite easily been three goals to the good before finally taking the lead on fifteen minutes through Callan Parker-Wells. It was a high quality finish with the assist coming from Johnny Unwin whose inviting left wing cross was met on the full by the Otley forward. Parker-Wells playing wide on the right of a front three had the beating of the Bramhope full back and on numerous occasions he made it to the by line only to see his crosses or cut backs come to nothing.

Perhaps Otley weren’t committing enough bodies forward but in fairness Bramhope, and in particular their keeper, were doing their job well. Pete Long tried his luck with a shot from distance which was strong and on target but the home keeper was right behind it. Mark McGee made a chance for himself when he neatly rolled his marker but couldn’t get his shot away and then Bobby Neesam blazed over when well placed. Parker-Wells had another shot stopped when the Bramhope keeper literally sat on his goal bound effort. Half time came with scores somehow level, but the key for Otley was not to become frustrated or get involved in situations that could give the officials an excuse to take action. The latter being very important as some of the home side tackles had been ‘borderline’ to say the least.

The game followed a similar pattern in the second half with Town goalkeeper Wayne Mahomet a spectator for the most part. After sixty minutes Otley brought on new boy Lewis Morgan for the heavy legged Richard Marshall and he immediately made an impact. Picking the ball up in midfield he threaded a beautifully weighted diagonal pass to the overlapping Ben Driffield and the young full back made no mistake with a clinical finish.

Morgan then thought he’d got on the scoresheet as he headed home a sliced clearance by a Bramhope defender. The referee gave the goal but then consulted his assistant who believed an Otley player was offside. This disappointment did not deter Otley and they should have sealed things when Parker-Wells snatched at a great chance and then Mitch Lambert-Tuthill fired a powerful shot just over. Otley were in the ascendancy right to the end but just couldn’t put away the chances their build up play deserved and then there was always the aerial threat at the other end. Bramhope continued to lump the ball forward at every opportunity but credit to Mahomet, Driffield, Parry, Lambert-Tuthill and Unwin who were rock solid at the back and saw the game out together with Pete Long providing the additional protection.

In a very good team performance there were fine performances from Long and Parker-Wells but the man of the match went to Lambert-Tuthill for his ninety minutes of controlled aggression.

The Third team also made progress in the Cup by beating Skipton Town 8-0 in a home fixture in the Craven Divisional Cup. Youngster, Sam Holmes scored 5 goals with other finishes coming from Alex Nicoll, Richard Sharpe and Calum McIvor. This weekend, Town travel to high-flying Shelley in WYAFL Division 1.