Todmorden Borough were beaten but far from disgraced in Tuesday’s West Lancashire League Challenge Cup final.
John Gilford’s underdogs went down 2-1 to Bolton County at Charnock Richard FC.
“We did more than enough to win but we couldn’t put the ball in the net,” said Gilford, whose side won the Division 2 competition two seasons ago.
Borough, who had upset leaders Hurst Green in the semi-finals, faced a second-placed County side on a dry, bumpy pitch.
County had a strong wind in their favour in the first half and scored twice in the last eight minutes of it.
Danny Warwick rounded off a superb move to make it 2-1 on 57 minutes but a further goal eluded Borough, who had been reinstated into the competition when Leyland fielded an ineligible player.
In spite of worries about getting to a fairly distant venue for a 6.15 kick off, Borough fielded an unchanged team.
County had the better of things early on without giving Tod ‘keeper Lee McGrath anything to worry about.
Midfielders Chris Kay and Jack Dungworth worked hard to get Borough into the game.
After Oliver Wood had shot wide on 15 minutes, Tod got the upper hand with James Hardman and Dave Patrick troubling County.
However, disaster struck when a long kick from the County ‘keeper was allowed to bounce. McGrath made a good save but Dennis Strickland scored from close range.
Borough were shaken and conceded again one minute before the interval, Tom Aspin’s 18-yard shot creeping into the corner of the net.
The second half belonged to Tod with Wood outstanding, Stevie Barker and Gaz Lawrence getting forward and centre backs Dan Lively and Harry Whitehead composed.
They got back in the contest when Lively’s free kick from just inside his own half released Lawrence. The fullback’s cross to the back post was chested down by Wood and Warwick struck the ball home on the half-volley.
Warwick and Dungworth were unable to take advantage of one-on-ones with the ‘keeper and Whitehead headed over as an equaliser eluded Borough, McGrath tipping over an isolated County effort.
Borough played much better than last Saturday, when they lost 3-2 at home to third-in-the-table Askam United.
Oliver Wood lobbed home after five minutes but Borough lacked cohesion and Jordan Raynor equalised.
An Askam own goal restored Tod’s lead at the start of the second half but Rayner rounded McGrath to make it 2-2 and Kyle Jefferson got the winner with the home defence all at sea with 10 minutes to go.
Tod felt they should have had a penalty for handball late on before James Hardman missed a great chance.
Tod’s reserves won 4-0 at Milnthorpe Cornithians with Terry Lowe, Jim Crowther and Josh Hiley (two) on target.
On Saturday the firsts host fifth-placed Walney Island while the reserves travel to lowly Stoneclough Reserves.