Banyers march into final
Haslingfield Sunday 1 Banyers 3 BANYERS progressed to the Shelford Energy Cup final with a well-deserved win on Sunday. The lower league side started into the wind, and had the first real chance when Dave Ratcliffe headed against the bar following Adam S
Haslingfield Sunday 1 Banyers 3 BANYERS progressed to the Shelford Energy Cup final with a well-deserved win on Sunday. The lower league side started into the wind, and had the first real chance when Dave Ratcliffe headed against the bar following Adam Smith's corner. Following a chance missed by Barry Wood at the other end, Haslingfield broke quickly, and was clattered on the edge of the box by Mark Halfacre. The free kick was a good one which resulted in the ball falling at the striker's feet with the goal at his mercy, but Smith managed to throw his body in the way and see it deflect off his thigh on to the bar. Towards the end of the half, Haslingfield made their pressure pay, and were awarded a penalty when Stephen Paul fouled on the bye line. The resulting kick was struck high and to the right of the keeper Adrian Pigg, who took one step to his left, parried the ball into the air, and then caught it. Banyers came out the stronger in the second half and went 2-0 up with a pair of well-taken goals. Wood set up Chris Holt to strike from 30 yards. His effort was arcing into the top corner, but the keeper managed to fingertip it on to the bar. But the ball bounced straight to Wilkinson, who smashed home into an empty net. Five minutes later, Ratcliffe chased down a defender, won the ball, took on another defender, and proceeded to send a delightful chip over the keeper towards the goal. Again, the keeper just managed to push it away, but Jeremy Clements was at the back post to tap the ball over the line. From then on, Haslingfield piled on the pressure, winning a string of corners in the last half-hour. Full backs Neil Smith and Glenn Radford did well, forcing their respective markers wide before they crossed, and Smith and Halfacre stood strong in the middle. But the home side's pressure paid off, and they pulled one back with 20 minutes to go. Pigg saved a point-blank shot with his feet, but the ball ricocheted to another attacker, who side-footed home. The last five minutes produced some of the most resilient defending that Banyers have produced all season, capped off by undoubtedly the save of the season. A snap shot from the corner of the box was heading straight for the top corner, but Pigg managed to scramble across the box, launch himself into the air, and tip the ball over. The resulting corner was cleared to Wood on the left, and he ran 60 yards, taking on four players, and hugging the left touchline until he reached the corner flag where he was fouled. Playing for time in the corner was the plan, but the resulting free kick ended up with the ball in the box with a shooting chance for Wood. As he prepared to shoot his legs were taken away, and Banyers had a chance to seal victory from the spot with three minutes left. Wood stepped up to take, mis-kicked the ball down the middle, but it bobbled, hit keeper's foot, came off his shin, and went into the roof of the net.