A goal one minute from time by Ivan Woods gave Floriana the nineteenth FA Trophy in the history of the club as they beat eternal rivals Valletta 1-0.
Playing in front of the largest attendance of the season – a total of over 8,400 spectators, the two teams shared the exchanges throughout the ninety minutes although Valletta had more shots at goal.
For Floriana, this was the first major honour in almost two decades after winning the FA Trophy in 1994, ironically in another final against Valletta.
The Citizens, on the other hand, leaves bitter disappointment as they missed out on the treble after winning the Premier League and Super Cup earlier this season.
For Valletta, Jesmond Zerafa had the full squad at his disposal Floriana, on the other hand, lacked the injured Dragomir Draganov. City captain Gilbert Agius and Floriana defender Duncan Pisani returned after missing last week’s semi-finals.
The Citizens had the first attempt at goal on the 12th minute when Denni concluded a solo effort with a low shot from the left which was neutralised by Matthew Towns. A minute later, Denni served Gilbert Agius on the right but the latter hit wide from inside the area. Floriana replied with a cross shot from the left by Christian Caruana which was partially saved by Hogg.
Ryan Fenech went close with a fine shot from the edge of the area six minutes from the end of the first half and just before half-time, Gilbert Agius had another good shot just missing the target.
Ten minutes in the second half, a cross from the right found Terence Scerri inside the area but his low shot was parried by Towns. On the hour, Gilbert Agius served Terence Scerri with an intelligent pass but the Floriana goalkeeper blocked the latter’s effort.
On 66 minutes, Christian Caruana released Daniel Nwoke on the right but the latter’s conclusion ended wide. A cross shot by Roderick Briffa from the right missed the target a minute later. Towns performed a good save on a Denni effort from the left after the Brazilian striker rounded two defenders. On the other side of the pitch, on 76 minutes, Christian Caruana concluded a fine solo effort with a low shot which was parried by Hogg.
On the 80th, Duncan Pisani exchanged the ball with Ivan Woods, the former rounded Ian Azzopardi and tried his luck with a good shot but the Valletta custodian saved the ball. Four minutes later, Duncan Pisani came to the rescue blocking off the goal-line a goal-bound effort by substitute Andrade Antunes Anderson.
The game seemed heading for extra-time but one minute from time, Floriana were awarded a freekick just outside the area and off Ivan Woods’ direct freekick, the ball was slightly deflected by a defender to beat goalkeeper Andrew Hogg.
Incidents followed the final whistle with Terence Scerri and Jamie Pace being shown the red card by referee Paul Caruana.
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VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Roderick Briffa, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Steve Borg, Edmond Agius, Gilbert Agius (82′ Andrade Antunes Anderson), Jamie Pace, Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Terence Scerri, Ryan Fenech (74′ Omonigho Temile).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Kevin Sammut, Ramon Dos Santos, Ian Zammit.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Asst Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
FLORIANA Matthew Towns, Duncan Pisani, Manolito Micallef, Owen Bugeja, Tyrone Farrugia, Pablo Doffo, Thomas Paris (63′ Joseph Borg), Christian Cassar, Christian Caruana, Ivan Woods, Daniel Nwoke.
Subs not used: John Agius, Alan Abela, Sacha Borg, Clyde Borg, Brian Said, Mark Anthony Borg.
Coach: Michael Woods
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Konrad Borg
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: S. Borg, T. Paris, G. Agius, J. Pace, I. Azzopardi, P. Doffo
Red Cards: J. Pace, T. Scerri
Scorers: 89′ Ivan Woods