BIRTLEY TOWN 2
(Jarrow won 4-3 on penalties)
JARROW picked up their first-ever piece of Wearside League silverware in front of a big crowd and a Sky TV camera at Perth Green yesterday.
After leading at the interval, Jarrow were pegged back in normal time and trailed 2-1 in extra time before hitting back.
As if scripted by Sky themselves, the dreaded penalty shoot-out duly followed, and Jarrow blew one chance to wrap it up before substitute Peter Kirkham applied the finishing touch to a deserved success.
Until Kirkham's final spot-kick clinched an historic victory for the underdogs in their 11th Weaerside League season, pride of place in their trophy cabinet had gone to the Secretary Of The Year trophy awarded to Sue Scott a couple of years ago.
Now the magnificent Shipowners Cup can take centre stage at Perth Green Community Centre after a fluctuating game which both sides will feel they could have won.
Both sides had chances before Jarrow took a 31st minute lead when Micky Bean curled a superb free kick behind the defence and Paul Donaghy tucked the ball into the bottom corner.
Treble cup finalists Birtley were never comfortable against set pieces, and Keith Hallway's 25 yarder was scrambled to safety by keeper Steve Harrison just before the break.
A crucial three-minute spell after the interval saw Birtley draw level when they could just as easily have been two down.
A repeat free kick by Bean on 52 minutes caused havoc and was deflected on to a post before being cleared.
Immediately Jason Melling was out of luck at the other end when his effort rebounded off the woodwork into the arms of Philip Dolphin.
But Melling went one better in the 55th minute, when a cross was flicked on for him to sweep in the equaliser at the far post.
Andy Barclay, one of numerous Man of the Match contenders, saw his hooked 18 yarder held by Harrison, and at the other end, Dolphin's full length save denied Michael Ford's late effort to take the tie into extra time.
Penalties looked a certain outcome after a chance-free first period, but Birtley edged in front immediately after the restart when a corner was played back in for Melling to score from two yards.
Birtley were only ahead for two minutes, and again a free kick was their undoing as Keith Hallway's cross presented skipper Paul Scott with a free downward header.
That set up the penalties, in which Jarrow were given an early lift when Dolphin saved the very first effort from Steve Martin.
Birtley's next two went in courtesy of Ford and Colin Nesbitt, but Donaghy, Gary Attewell and Hallway had put Jarrow 3-2 up when late sub Keith Foster hit the post, leaving Mark Laidler with the chance for glory.
Always capable of the unexpected, Laidler duly obliged again by firing over the top.
Paul Bryson tied it up at 3-3, leaving Kirkham with Jarrow's fifth spot-kick and second chance of victory, which was snapped up to spark scenes of great jubilation.
Scott was named Man of the Match but it was far from a foregone conclusion, with several strong contenders in the running.
Jarrow's display made a mockery of the league table, which suggested that Birtley would have no problem adding the trophy to the Monkwearmouth Cup already secured.
All Jarrow have to do now is to produce that sort of display when points are up for grabs, and lowly league placings could become a thing of the past.
That's the task facing manager Paul Thu and assistant Dave Bell - once the party has subsided.
Jarrow: Dolphin; Hallway, Scott, Burrell, Diamond; Barclay, Donaghy, Hutchinson, Bean (Kirkham 95); Attewell, Gibson (Laidler 87).
Birtley: Harrison; Nesbitt, Scott, Cooper, Wind; Davison (Foster 117), Bryson, Martin, Lynch; Melling, Ford.