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Marsh United complete North Lancs treble as historic local league comes to an end 

Marsh United completed the North Lancashire and District Football League treble in its last ever season on Monday.

They beat Scorton Saints 4-0 in the Robert Hockham Senior Challenge Cup final at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium, adding to their league title and Lawrie Postlethwaite Invitational Cup wins.

The club have had representation in all four of the league’s cup finals, with their reserves team playing in the other two - the Robert Hockham Junior Challenge Cup and the Ashley Cross Fisher Remembrance Cup - which both ended in defeat for them.

Scorton Saints were formed last year and finished in sixth place in this season’s NL&DFL table. 

Two strikes from player of the match Aaron Hoyle, one in each half, as well as goals from James Eccles and Daniel Smith, got Marsh the win.

Despite the one-sided scoreline, both teams had their chances and made it an enjoyable watch and a fitting end to a proud 104-year-old footballing institution.

Player of the Match Aaron Hoyle spoke to Beyond Radio after the game.

“It was a good win, we were favourites coming into the game and all the lads played well,’’ he said.

“Kris [McMenamin, manager] changed the team around today, making it fair for all the lads and keeping everyone happy.

“It’s brilliant to be at Marsh United at the moment, the lads are so close and we’re all good friends, I think that’s been a huge part of our success this season: all the lads being together.”

Hoyle, who has played in the league for many years, said it is very sad to see it go.

“It’s such a shame to see it end, the great teams and referees, playing on a pitch like this, it will probably never happen again.

“It’s a real shame to see some of the teams folding and the league not continuing next year.”

Marsh boss Kris McMenamin gave his post-match thoughts to Beyond Radio too.

“The lads have been superb all season and it’s been topped off tonight,’’ he said.

Scorton Saints made a real game of it, to be honest, and 4-0 flatters us a little bit, they had a lot of chances and Dawid [Zulewski] made some great saves, especially at 2-0.

“In the last 20 minutes, the extra quality we had shone through even when we were a player down with the sin bin. I thought we kept the ball really well.

“Playing here is a great way to finish a season and the end of the league.

“The experience of us playing here a couple of weeks ago [in the Lawrie Postlethwaite Cup final] helped things and calmed us a bit because the pitch does take you by surprise.”

McMenamin added: “It’s been brilliant to be part of the North Lancs League, I’ve been part of it since I was 16, I’ve been watching it since I could walk.

“It’s very fitting that we’ve managed to win everything we could possibly win. 

“All the stalwarts of the club in years gone by, that’s for them really and everyone who has kept the club going for so long and part of the league for so long.”

The club are set to enter the Mid Lancashire Football League next season, and the targets are clear.

“Our ambition is to get promoted from the leagues we get put in.

“If we get put in the first division and the reserves get put into the second division then we’ve got to look at getting ourselves into the premier division and the reserves in division one.

“That’s always the aim, it’s why we’re all involved, to win.”

Scorton Saints boss Robert Tomkins told Beyond Radio there’s lots for the club’s players and fans to be positive about, despite the loss.

“It’s our first season together as a team, so to get to a cup final, to get to play on the hallowed turf here, it’s fantastic.

“We loved the whole experience: pre-match, getting into the changing rooms, walking out, the game, everything. Winning the match would’ve been great but just to be here is great.

“We made [Marsh United] work for the win as well.”

The club have been accepted into the Westmorland Football League for next season, and they just want to keep developing.

“We certainly want to grow the squad, we’ve struggled on numbers at times so we need to get more players in.

“We’ve got some younger players who are just turning 16 so it’d be great to see them develop and join the team.

“We want to give the league a real good go.”

The NL&DFL secretary Aaron Hockham spoke to Beyond Radio about a memorable yet emotional ending to the league on Monday evening.

“It’s been a great end to the league and I really wish we could carry on but it’s not to be.

“Tonight we’ve given the league a fitting send off and paid tribute to what’s been a great league for the people of Lancaster and Morecambe.

“This season has been difficult. You don’t want teams to drop out and you want a competitive league, hopefully the clubs have enjoyed this season and how we’ve tried to arrange the fixtures.

“All the teams in this league have got great backroom teams and committed players so hopefully they can go on to bigger and better things in the leagues they go into.”

It remains to be seen as to what some other NL&DFL teams are doing next year, but the futures of the remaining clubs will become clearer in the coming weeks.

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