Express & Star

Pics boss full of pride following cup final triumph

Liam McDonald was left with a huge sense of pride after Rushall Olympic claimed Staffordshire Senior Cup glory for the second year in row, writes Luke Powell.


Only one goal separated the Pics and Leek Town at the Bet365 Stadium, as was the case sides in last year’s final. Alex Fletcher hammered home a 50th-minute penalty to supply Rushall with victory and the title in consecutive seasons.

The Pics lifted the trophy for the fifth time in their history and are also targeting back-to-back titles in the Walsall Senior Cup. Boss McDonald was filled with joy after the full-time scenes and praised his players and staff.

“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved as players, and as a management team since we’ve come to the football club,” said the Rushall boss.

“We’ve pushed on and made massive strides on the pitch and off it. The chairman has played a massive part in that and he trusts the staff to make sure with the limited resources that we have that we can go out and perform and play a certain way. We’ve done that.

“The players have been fantastic but I never really say how good the staff have been, they’ve been the best in the club’s history in terms of what we did last season. We are a very close-knit group that works very hard and this is a reward for them as well.

“We set a target a few weeks ago saying ‘can we stay up because that’s the priority but also win two cups?’

“We’re one down with one to go and have a great chance come Saturday of doing the one thing nobody thought we could actually do. We’re excited about that.

“It’s always good winning this trophy, it’s a fantastic stadium too and a great opportunity, and the boys came through.”

Birmingham City loanee Rico Browne was awarded man-of-the match for his defensive efforts. The 20-year-old led from the back against the Northern One West champions who have scored over 80 league goals so far this season, and denied the Blues on several occasions in what was another close encounter between the sides.

“I said to Rico as soon as the game had finished ‘you were outstanding’,” said McDonald. “I thought he was a rock. When he’s on it we don’t concede many goals because he’s so dominant in what he does and so clever.”

“Defensively we were good and we kept them at bay. We knew it was going to be tough, mentality wise, they’ve won their league and been behind many times this season and gone on to win.

“For us going into the National League North where we are dwarfed by so many clubs, and to be able to get to the final of this competition where we’ve made lots of changes throughout and to win it tops off a good week we’ve had.”