ONE of the oldest competitions in local football has been won by Haltwhistle Jubilee for a second successive year.

A second half goal from man of the match Callum James gave them a 1-0 victory over Hexham in a closely-contested final, on a sun-drenched Tuesday evening at Riding Mill.

Only two team’s entered this year, which meant the tournament went to a straight final.

Cup officials said the unusual circumstances were due to a lack of interest.

But the treasured trophy, once sought after by teams from across the district, will look good on Haltwhistle’s team photo alongside last season’s silverware.

A reasonably-sized crowd witnessed a tense midfield battle in the opening 15 minutes. First blood went to Jubilee, with Reece Thirtle running onto a well-timed through ball before producing a fine low save from Hexham keeper Tom Carney.

From a corner, Hexham threatened with shots from Owen Murtough and Bradley Lowes, the first which was saved, while the second was blocked by a resolute defence.

On 27 minutes, Haltwhistle’s Scott Jacobsen volleyed over, after running onto a James flick-on. The game was beginning to open up, and Hexham’s Lowes cut in from the left to shoot from a tight angle, but Haltwhistle keeper Kieran MacMillan got down low to save.

Haltwhistle began the second half on the front foot, and after some good link up play down the right, Scott Jacobsen side footed narrowly wide from 12 yards.

On 50 minutes, James took down a high ball on the edge of the Hexham penalty area, before holding off two defenders, turning superbly, and finding the bottom corner to make it 1-0. Shortly afterwards, A chipped through ball ball from James Charteries almost picked out Thirtle, but goalkeeper Carney swept up well, before Paul Wilson headed just wide from a Charteries free kick. With dangerman Dylan Mabunu coming on at half time, Hexham remained a threat.

He fired just wide from 10 yards, before Robbie Pattison went close with a header. There may have only been two teams, but this was an entertaining Clayton Cup final, and a useful pre-season fixture for both sides, as they prepare for the new campaign in the Northern Alliance.