Skew make it third time lucky
The latest from the Herts Advertiser Sunday League
Herts Advertiser Reserve Cup Final
After two years of disappointment Skew Bridge finally got their hands on some silverware.
The team, missing top goal scorer Simon Beazley knew it was going to be a tough day but the work and commitment from every player was fantastic.
Nathan Dawes and Adam Fitton were solid as a rock in the heart of the defence and made sure the only chances afforded to Nicholas Breakspear were from long range. Danny Abraham and Dan Bathurst worked their socks off in midfield closing the opposition down and getting the wide players involved in the game. Up front Keith Woods and Phil Lythgoe chased every ball and closed the defence down making it almost impossible for them to play it out from the back.
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The goal came with 10 minutes remaining and was a result of some excellent play by Ben Dawes. Receiving the ball wide left he galloped down the wing before tearing into the penalty area and crossing the ball across the six-yard box. A Nickolas Breakspear defender had to get something on it but only managed to put the ball past his ‘keeper and into the net.
Some may call it lucky but it was no more than Skew deserved. The final 10 minutes saw Skew hold firm and win their first Reserve Cup Final since 2002. There were four players involved on Sunday that had also played in that final nine years ago - Keith Woods, James Hiller, Ollie Dawson and Matt Lord - and they’ll be hoping they won’t have to wait another nine years to win it again. The only sad point of an excellent game was when Breakspear’s Olly Giles fell awkwardly and broke his leg.
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Herts Advertiser Challenge Cup semi-final
In a nine-goal thriller London Road progressed into the final with a 5-4 after-extra time win against Nicholas Breakspear OB.
Road missed a penalty in the opening five minutes, then fell two goals down before drawing level early in the second period. Play resumed end-to-end with a further five goals being scored. Breakspear’s goals came from Danny Fitzgerald (two), David Parkinson and Cain Davey. Road’s goalscorers were Man of the Match Winston Taylor (two), Frankie Jowle, Mark Paradise and Matt Tillbrook.
Herts Advertiser Intermediate Cup semi-final
It was a repeat of the Junior Cup Final from three years ago as Hare & Hound and Oaks battled for a place in this year’s final.
Hare & Hounds had to reshuffle their squad with a few injuries being picked up during the week.
The first 15 minutes were tight with both teams defending well. The Hare defence were proving to be too solid for the Oaks strikers. The Hare midfield started to branch out and gave the ball to captain Chris Cutmore who was tearing up the wing and causing all sorts of problems for the rooted defenders.
Danny Kevin continued his fantastic season and was well supported in midfield by Christie Tyler, both players having the better of the play over the Oaks midfield duo.
With 30 minutes on the clock Cutmore crossed over a ball, the Oaks ‘keeper couldn’t hold on and Conrad was there to open his account for the game.
The second half started much the same as the first, some great midfield play by Kevin and Tyler saw the ball played out wide to James Manfre, who skinned his man and crossed superbly for Conrad who out jumped the Oaks defence and headed the ball into the top corner of the goal.
Hare began to dominate in all areas of the pitch. Man of the Match Aaron Spink was in outstanding form for Hare all game, both he and Matt Shields kept the in-form striker, Harry Hunt quiet for most of the game.
Two costly errors let Oaks back into the game with goals from Scott Sherman and Scott Turner.
Hare bought on Brett Harrison to shore things up in the middle of the park and he did just that as they saw out the 90 minutes.
Extra time followed with neither side making any real chances or head way into the opposing penalty area.
The 30 minutes flew by and it was still tied at 2-2 taking the game to penalties.
Hare & Hounds made one final change just before the end of extra time, bringing on their penalty specialist. Conrad had taken the captain’s armband when Cutmore went off injured, and won the toss and chose to go first.
The stand-in captain stepped up first and slammed the ball into the back of the net giving him his third goal of the game. Oaks then equalised making it 1-1. Spinks stepped up to slot his home for 2-1 before Darryl White brilliantly saved Harry Hunt’s penalty. Hare took full advantage of this and Tyler scored his to make it 3-1 before Oaks made it 3-2. In-form Billy Phillips then slotted his home making it 4-2 but Oaks kept up the pressure netting their fourth penalty kick. Hare knew that scoring their last penalty would see them back into the Intermediate Cup Final for the second time in successive seasons. Up stepped manager Ben Pollard who smashed the ball into the bottom corner for a 5-3 score to put Hare & Hounds back into the final to defend their cup. Hare and Hounds would like to thank all of the support they had.
Herts Advertiser Junior Cup semi-final
Greenwood’s run in the cup came to an abrupt end at the semi-final stage with a 6-0 defeat to Insurance Store.
The score line was not a true reflection of the game. At 1-0 down Greenwood had the chance to level but a great save from the ‘keeper denied Dave Bayliss. Rob Barron, Matt Thorne and Nick Fanshaw all went close in the first half but two further goals from Insurance Store left Greenwood with a mountain to climb in the second half. Insurance Store soon increased their lead and again Greenwood applied some pressure with Rob Barron again going close, as did substitutes Michael Kwok and Scott Johnson. However two more goals from Insurance Score gave them a 6-0 victory. Matt Thorn was Greenwood Park’s Man of the Match
A brace of assists by David Keenleyside set up goals for Stuart Brown and Richard Oxley as Harpenden Colts Old Boys maintained their title push with a hard fought 2-0 victory over top of the table Potter Bar. Charlie Collins was outstanding in the Colts goal with a number of vital second half saves and he was well supported by Chris Ellis as stand in central defender and Matt Richardson in midfield.
Brookmans Park finished their season with a 5-0 defeat to Phoenix, finishing fifth in the league which was about right for their overall performances. Phoenix are still very much in contention for promotion with their 11th league win and double over the Park. Liam Addlesee hit a hat-trick and singles came from Alec Morgan and Trevor Stevens.
Church End were shocked to find themselves three goals down inside the opening 20 minutes and unhappy with two of the goals, but a reshuffle composed Church who scored just before half time with a James Crane penalty.
AFC Rangers Reserves played some good football down the wings but were unable to create a clear opening, Church pulled a second goal back with a neat counter attack resulting in a great finish from Graham Hill. With 10 minutes left Tom Blackman headed home the equaliser for a deserved and well fought 3-3 draw.
Beaver Travel put in possibly their worst performance of the season when going down 1-0 against Icarus who totally deserved their victory.
Beaver have almost certainly blown their title chance and will have to settle for runners-up.
League leaders Lifted Music completed their league programme with a 9-0 win against Bar 62.
They now have to wait and see if Oaks can win their remaining four games to clinch the title by a single point. Peter Jukes was in outstanding form for the Lifted side and hat-tricks came from Tom Middleditch and Lee Rowson plus a brace by Callum Bloor and an Elliot Smith single.
Brookmans Park A team took the lead against Radlett Village in the second half with a brilliant goal from leading scorer Ryan Painter, however two goals in two minutes put in-form Radlett in charge and a late goal sealed a 3-1 win. Radlett’s Man of the Match, Nilton Fernandes, was on the scoresheet, along with Aaron Ferdinand and Will Comer.
Sandridge Harvesters Sports drew 1-1 against St Albans Royals in a game that they dominated for 90 minutes. Connor Dunbar-Taylor scored for Sports and Man of the Match Chris Wickens was solid in midfield.
The last time Marshalswick Rovers won a game it was against Old Albanians Res, eight games ago. But the Old Boys gained revenge with a 3-2 win.
Falek Miah and Jon Ritter were Rovers scorers and Alex Pedersen their outstanding player.
After a tight first half with Sandridge taking the lead, IFC St Albans ran away with it in the second half as both teams had men sent off. Four more goals for the in-form Jason Nicolaou, plus singles from Spencer Clarke-Mardel and Mario Concialdi helped IFC continue their good run with a 6-2 win. Chris Draddy and Pete Shepperson scored for Sandridge.
Dukes completed the season with a five-game unbeaten run, drawing 2-2 with Phoenix ‘A’.
Dukes came back strongly from a first half two goal deficit ( Shenahl Samarasinghe and Lewis Kirkby scoring), with two goals from Nathan Connolly.
AFC Crown dominated from start to finish against Alternative Quat Republique, winning 9-0.
Goals came from top scorer James Watts (two), Gary Edwards (two), Mark Gallagher, Michael Cattermole and Mark Pearson. Man of the Match was Paul Lewis.
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves took the opportunity of this friendly to blood some new faces and they cruised to an 8-1 win over The Camp Albanians.
Four goals from Man of the Match Andy Shirra and singles from Will Oxley, Alex Dennehy and Andrew Luckhurst with an own goal completed the tally.
Ben Neale was outstanding and was well supported by debutant Mark Pearse.