Ben Shepherd and Mikey Barry on target as Stoke Gifford United defeat Hanham Athletic to lift Les James League Cup

A goal early in each half was enough to secure the Les James League Cup for Stoke Gifford United after a 2-1 win over Hanham Athletic.

Skipper Ben Shepherd gave United the perfect start when he touched in Paul Cronin’s corner from the left less than two minutes into the final, which was hosted by Almondsbury FC.

Right winger Mikey Barry caused major problems for Hanham early on and he was denied by the legs of goalkeeper Sam Brown in the 17th minute as the lead was nearly doubled.

Spike Weaver smashed a long range effort over the bar and Jordan Iwhiwhu fired wide from a good position after a free-kick into the box was not dealt with by the Hanham defence.

Iwhiwhu set up Rudy Hill for another chance in the 32nd minute, but he could only slice his effort off target.

After being forced to defend for most the opening half an hour, Hanham threatened for the first time in the 37th minute when Brandon Barnes’ deft touch took him through on goal, but his low effort rolled just past the right post.

Barry’s low ball evaded Spike Weaver at the far post for United and after another Cronin corner, Barry’s shot was blocked by Joel Athey and the follow-up was well saved by Brown.

Just before half-time Barnes’ free-kick from 20 yards appeared destined for the top right corner, but Oli Gargett flew to his left to touch it over the bar with his fingertips, preserving his side’s narrow lead at the break.

Barry added the second less than a minute into the second half, applying a low finish after some skilful play to create a shooting chance for himself.

Hanham’s Paul Coles shot wide on the turn in the 53rd minute and Weaver had a chance to make it 3-0 in the 72nd , but he could not keep his effort down.

Barnes’ corner was deflected in off a defender in the 73rd minute to make it 2-1 and set up a tense finish.

Finn Williams had the ball in the net for Hanham, but a free-kick was awarded for a foul in the box and it was chalked off in the 78th minute.

A final free-kick effort from the left foot of Barnes was touched over by Gargett 10 minutes from the end and Gloucestershire County League runners-up Stoke Gifford saw out the remaining time confidently to round off a highly successful second season at the level.

Stoke Gifford United: Gargett, Tulloch, Hill, Williams, Shepherd, Fagbure, Barry, Garrod, Iwhiwhu, Weaver, Cronin. Subs: Stawrowski, Abraham, Talbot, Taylor, Hodge.

Hanham Athletic: Brown, Gibbs, Athey, Wise, Wathen, Fudgell, Saunders, Simms, Rendall, Coles, Barnes. Subs: Adams, Williams, Wiltshire, Nash.

Referee: Adam Boubrahmi.