STUDLEY manager Keith Draper was in jubilant mood after the Bees ended an eventful campaign with silverware courtesy of Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Coventry Copsewood in the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup final.
Two late headed goals from Dan Dineen sparked the celebrations for Studley who, having already secured their survival in Midland League Division One, had finished their league campaign with a 4-0 home victory over Pelsall Villa, whose defeat on Saturday resulted in relegation.
However, it was the cup final success at Leamington’s New Windmill Ground which particularly delighted Draper as the Bees claimed glory despite fielding a heavily depleted squad.
Studley were without half a dozen cup-tied players and had two more injured and three suspended, but Dineen’s late heroics made it a night to remember.
“It was a very satisfying victory and a great way for the lads to end the season,” said Draper.
“We were under the cosh in the first half against a very big and physical side whose centre forwards towered over our 6ft centre backs.
“However, we stuck at the task well and began to cause them problems when we changed to a 4-3-3 in the second half.”
The Bees fell behind midway through the second period when Copsewood scored just 20 seconds after Studley’s Josh Westwood had thundered a strike against the post.
Ten minutes from time Draper’s men forced a flurry of corners during which they hit the post, had an effort cleared off the line and saw the Copsewood keeper make a superb save, leading Draper to fear it would not be his side’s night.
However, Dineen had other ideas and scored with back post diving headers in near carbon copy fashion in the 88th and 90th minutes to leave Studley players and fans ecstatic.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the boys for turning that around and winning the cup, “ added Draper.
“They’ve been absolutely superb for me since I took over and have averaged pretty much two points a game since Christmas to get us over the line.
“I was also really pleased with how we went about things on Saturday against a Pelsall side fighting to stay up.
“Gaz Evans scored a wonder goal and there were also two excellent finishes from DJ Pitt, who has had a tough season and not played as much as he’d have liked but never once moaned.
“Aaron Westwood’s goal was also impressive, so I couldn’t have asked for more said Draper,” whose side finished 15th and seven points above the drop zone.