Littlebourne bagged an 89th-minute winner to settle a keenly-contested DFDS Kent Junior Cup A Final at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium on Saturday.
The Canterbury & District League side, beaten in the final 12 months earlier, got their hands on the trophy this time around.
Littlebourne went ahead on 11 minutes, Robbie Loomer expertly collecting goalkeeper Shannon Harris’ long clearance before playing in player-of-the-match Matt Martin who beat the defender before arrowing a low left-foot finish across the keeper.
A fine tackle by Orpington defender Charlie Covill then denied Loomer a clear sight of goal as his pace threatened to get him in position to add a second.
Littlebourne didn’t appear in much danger but were pegged back 10 minutes before the break in unfortunate circumstances. Good work by Orpington from Sonny Francis down the right saw him cross into the penalty area where Ash Groombridge’s intended clearance went straight into the top corner of his own net to level the scores.
Littlebourne responded, Loomer’s free-kick to the overlapping Groombridge saw him deliver across the six-yard box but no one was able to get a telling touch.
Then, on 41 minutes, Loomer again combined with Martin and while the latter appeared to be forced too wide, he produced an excellent left-foot shot which came back off the crossbar from an angle with keeper Jake Gilbert beaten.
Orpington always posed a threat through forward David Aileru while defender Ryan Coltress impressed, heading off his own line from a corner on the hour mark.
Coltress’ long throws were an attacking threat at the other end, with one falling nicely for captain Davy Anderson, who produced a stunning save from Harris to turn the ball away for a corner.
With 17 minutes left, Loomer played in Martin but his shot was going wide of the near post, although Gilbert didn’t take any chances.
The two teams were largely cancelling each other out and extra-time seemed inevitable until Loomer’s cross was met by Jon Lewis and the ball squirmed in at the near post despite the best efforts of the defender on the line.
Orpington rallied in injury time but Greg Stevens’ free-kick hit the wall before he then headed over from the resulting corner and Stevens shot well over the bar.
It was the last of 25 county cup finals, although referee Stuart Beadle ensured it wasn’t a quick finish as there were 14-and-a-half minutes of stoppages played at the end of a second half which saw numerous stoppages, mainly thanks to players going down with cramp in the warm conditions.
The only sour note was the needless pitch invasion which followed the final whistle.
Littlebourne: Shannon Harris, Jon Lewis, Ash Groombridge, Daniel Wells, Euan Morgan, Aaron Garvey, Liam Horgan, Ryan Miller, Guy Connolly, Robbie Loomer, Matt Martin, Callum Hooper, Callum Kennedy, Ryan Sims, Luke Mills, Teddy Johnson.
Orpington: Jake Gilbert, Josh Wilkes, Charlie Covill, Ryan Coltress, Sonny Francis, Davy Anderson, David Aileru, Alex Lamberti, Myles Briscoe-Foster, Leo Ridge, Kai George, Huxley Marshall, Mikel Abarrategui, Ramzi Lewis, Greg Stevens, Ethan Lampard.
Referee: Stuart Beadle.