FOOTBALLING firefighters from the region have narrowly missed taking a national title after reaching finals for the first time in 25 years.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) football team fought hard for the trophy in the FireSport British Cup final in a dramatic game against Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue. Their rivals scored a winning goal in the last few minutes of the match, defeating CDDFRS 1-0.

The tournament was held at Altrincham Football Club, where the team faced a “very tight and tough game against their Northern Irish counterparts with some hard tackles”.

CDDFRS were on fire in the first half, with Firefighter Chris Leetham from High Handenhold Greens scoring an early goal in the first five minutes of the game, but disappointingly it was disallowed for off-side.

In the second half, CDDFRS continued to push the opposition for the goal, however, in the final three minutes of the game the Northern Irish team scored a winning goal, which saw them to victory.

CDDFRS didn’t come away empty-handed though, with On Call Firefighter Liam Hodgson presented with a trophy for man of the match.

CDDFRS football manager Mark Harrison said “It was a difficult game for both sides, our squad showed passion, determination and worked hard throughout the game but were pipped to the post in the final minutes.

The fact our team reached the final is a huge achievement and we are very proud to return to County Durham and Darlington knowing we played an excellent game and of course with man of the match."