Northern Star ended a five-year wait for honours to ensure there was no fairytale finish for outgoing Deeping boss Tuncay Korkmaz last night (May 11).
A double-strike from skipper Phil Stebbing earned Star a 2-1 success over local rivals Rangers in the final of the Hinchingbrooke Cup at Jubilee Park, Huntingdon.
It was the city club’s first piece of silverware since they lifted the same trophy back in 2010 when winning this competition at the first attempt although joint boss Seb Hayes was in effect retaining the trophy after guiding his former club, Huntingdon, to glory last season.
That meant there was no silver lining for Korkmaz, who has stepped down from the Deeping helm due to increased work commitments and been replaced by former Star joint boss Michael Goode for next season.
Star were rewarded for a bright start with an early opener as Stebbing – who played for Korkmaz at Stamford and Deeping – converted a fine cut-back from marauding full-back Michael Mackrell in the eighth minute.
The 32-goal hitman doubled their advantage just after the hour when being left unattended to head in a deep free-kick delivery from the sweet left foot of central defender Edison Fernandes.
Stebbing, who was withdrawn with a back problem moments later, could have had a hat-trick after steering another good headed chance wide late in the first half. Rangers goalkeeper Danny Bircham had also stood big to deny Jordan MacLeod during a good Star spell.
Deeping created chances of their own with one-time Posh youngster Levi Wright slamming wide seconds before the break. Wright, David Burton-Jones and Joe Braithwaite – a defender thrown up front – also missed the target in the second period.
Rangers were eventually rewarded for a spell of late pressure when Jordan Avis halved their arrears as the clock ticked into the 90th minute.
But it wasn’t enough to spark a dramatic late comeback and prevent the goalscorer’s older brother, Luke, who was a member of the Star team, from celebrating a trophy success.
Deeping: Bircham, Braithwaite, Tinkler, Holland, Smith, Flack, Burton-Jones, Hamid (Sparrow), Graham, Avis, Wright (Carter). Unused: Palmer, Pilbeam.
Star: George; Mackrell, Hunnings, Fernandes, Porter, Kilbride (Warrener), Bream (Catanach), Murphy, MacLeod, Avis, Stebbing (Sanders). Unused: Hill-Seekings, Ilsley.