A goal in each half from Ryan Burgess and Jack Morrow was enough to give their side victory in what was a very wet evening at the Vestacare Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Norman Noden Cup is contested between the Premier Division winners and the Gilgryst Cup winners from the previous season. However, as Rochdale Sacred Heart were both league champions and cup winners, they faced the Gilgryst Cup finalists.
The game traditionally is played before the league campaign but for many reasons the fixture couldn't take place in pre-season so it was decided the game be played on Wednesday 4th October at the Vestacare Stadium, the home of MFL side Avro which boasted a state-of-the-art 4G artificial surface.
Both teams went into the game having made an indifferent start to their respective campaigns, with AFC Monton winning the fixture between the two sides in early September but it was Sacred Heart who would claim bragging rights on this occasion.
The rain remained relentless throughout the evening, providing the teams with a very slick and skiddy surface, perfect for playing football on. Given the weather conditions, had this game been played on a grass pitch it would have been very, very likely it would have been postponed.
Thankfully the game was never in doubt and we got to watch a game of mid-week football.
The game looked to promise an enthralling encounter and it started in exactly that way when Ryan Burgess gave the league champions the lead in the 4th minute.
Burgess, who scored the winner in the last minute of the Gilgryst Cup Final, came up with another goal against the Ammies as he tried his luck from 25 yards. The midfielder found space after Matthew Dell's headed knock-down and hit it low into the bottom to notch his third goal of the season.
We had to wait a further 30 minutes before the next goal-mouth action when Jack Holt's effort was well saved by Karl Taylor in the Ammies' net, this being the last threat on any goal before the half time break.
The rain continued to pour down as the game with neither team creating much to write about, however the referee did have to intervene some hand bags a couple of times.
With ten minutes remaining, Sacred Heart stepped up their offensive stride, with Jack Holt coming close as his effort narrowly missed the upright then a few moments later last-ditch defending saw Otis Gorman made a goal-line clearance.
But on 85 minutes, Jack Morrow got the goal which killed off any hope of an Ammies comeback to seal Sacred Heart's victory. Having picked up the ball on the halfway line, Reece Glynn beat a man before slipping the ball through to Morrow who beat his man before rifling in his effort into the top corner from an acute angle for his third goal of the season.
AFC Monton almost produced an immediate reply when, after good work down the left, Lewis Price produced a tempting cross which Garry Prescott failed to make any connection from 6 yards out.
Referee Alex Kelly brought an end to the game and crowned Rochdale Sacred Heart with their third trophy in four months.
Both teams now look to the weekend where they face tough tests in a return to Manchester Football League action.
AFC Monton will look to lift themselves back up when they travel to Hollyhedge Park to face Wythenshawe Amateurs in their new home while Rochdale Sacred Heart are also on their travels when they take on East Manchester at Wright Robinson College.
We would like to thank Edmund Dwynn for providing us with the fantastic video coverage of the goals.