Goal-den Gary is spot on for Melbourn
Gt Chesterford 3 Melbourn 3 (Melbourn won 6-5 on penalties) GARY Norman once again marshalled his back four well throughout this hard fought game, before taking his side through to the semi-final of the Creake Shield when he stepped up to slot home a sud
Gt Chesterford 3 Melbourn 3
(Melbourn won 6-5 on penalties)
GARY Norman once again marshalled his back four well throughout this hard fought game, before taking his side through to the semi-final of the Creake Shield when he stepped up to slot home a sudden death penalty at Chesterford on Saturday.
Chesterford, sitting fifth in Division 1A, settled the quickest on their very bumpy and uneven pitch. A mix up on the left allowed them to cross for their tall number nine to open the scoring.
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Melbourn rallied with Jason Gray, Michael Wagstaff and Steve Marriott working hard in the midfield to help draw level.
However, once again, it was Andy Richardson's endeavour that brought about the equaliser when he followed a high ball into the box, which the home keeper missed, allowing Melbourn's top scorer to volley home.
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Both teams shared good chances and on the 35th minute the home side regained the lead with a well taken strike from 30 yards which sailed into the roof of the net.
Mark Williams was swapped for Andrew Morris on the hour which brought immediate dividends.
Kris Watters, Andrew Ridden and Morris chasing into the box brought about a fumble from the home keeper, for Morris to slot home.
And it was Morris who chased down a shot that the home keeper failed to hold to give his side the lead with less than 10 minutes of the 90 remaining.
The final 10 minutes saw Watters, Ridden and Morris waste good chances to seal the fate of Chesterford, with Gray perhaps, having the best when he ran onto a cross from Ridden, in an unmarked position only to see his shot go wide of the target.
Following 30 minutes extra time, the two teams played out the penalty shoot out with Pearse making an excellent save to his left which provided the sudden death spot kick for Norman, which was gladly put away.
Melbourn Res 5 Bottisham Res 3
MELBOURN were very nearly guilty of throwing away this tie, having let slip a 4-0 lead, and missing a hatful of chances, particularly in the first half-hour.
The home side started brightly, Stephen Harper's early low shot was saved well with an outstretched leg and Stephen Edwards drew another fine stop after more good work from Harper. Then Russell Cooper's clever flick found Edwards in space but his shot was weak.
On 20 minutes, Wayne Gordon put Edwards through, who outpaced the defenders, only to drag his shot agonisingly wide.
Moments later, Harper again was the provider, sending over a hanging cross, Edwards rose highest but could not keep his header down.
Finally, on 37 minutes, Melbourn opened the scoring through Cooper's terrific strike from 20 yards.
Within minutes Cooper doubled his and his side's tally with another good finish.
In first-half stoppage time, the hosts made it three, Tom Walker's quick free kick found Cooper, who then played in Harper, his first shot was blocked but he made no mistake with the rebound, smashing home off the underside of the bar.
Early in the second half, Melbourn added a fourth before some defensive lapses allowed Bottisham back into the match.
Melbourn should have cleared their lines but a low cross from the right could only be palmed by Chris Bone into the path of the Bottisham striker.
Two minutes later, the visitors pulled another back, a through ball was not dealt with leaving the Bottisham player the simple task of slotting home past Bone.
Player-manager Ashley Cooper then made three substitutions, with each of the new players causing an immediate impact.
Firstly, Drew Harrington had a header brilliantly saved following a fantastic cross from Cooper then Fraser Ogilvie hit the bar with a looping shot from distance before Chris Paxton stabbed home Walker's pass with his very first touch to make it 5-2.
With virtually the last kick of the game, Bottisham's young number seven scored the goal of the game, with a angled, looping strike into Bone's top corner.