Handy Andy sends Melbourn through

Waterbeach Res 4 Melbourn 5 ANDY Richardson s hat-trick earned Melbourn a place in the last 16 of the Junior Challenge Cup on Saturday as they knocked out higher-division Waterbeach. On a wet, muddy pitch the hard-working Richardson opened the sc

Waterbeach Res 4 Melbourn 5

ANDY Richardson's hat-trick earned Melbourn a place in the last 16 of the Junior Challenge Cup on Saturday as they knocked out higher-division Waterbeach.

On a wet, muddy pitch the hard-working Richardson opened the scoring within 10 minutes, which was cancelled out soon after following a set piece outside the Melbourn box.

Determined and tenacious, Richardson and Jason Gray combined well in the first half resulting in Richardson's second after chasing down a long ball and delicately chipping over the home keeper for his second.

Once again, the home side levelled following a bizarre decision by the referee, and goalkeeper Glen Pearse was cleverly beaten by the home centre forward.

The battle continued with Gray and a solid back four lead by Gary Norman, holding off Waterbeach's attacks, Pearse making an excellent save with his feet to keep his side level.

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On 33 minutes, Melbourn were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the home box, which saw Gray make it 3-2 just before half-time with a well executed strike.

The second 45 minutes began in much the same earnest as the first, and it was not long before Waterbeach levelled with their third goal, followed 10 minutes later with their fourth which was smashed home at the far post, again by their experienced centre forward

However, this did not deter the visitors and good passing involving Michael Wagstaff, Gray, and Richardson allowed Kris Watters the space to make it 4-4 with less six minutes remaining, and the prospect of extra-time looming.

Both sides battled hard to gain an edge, when Wagstaff slid a pass through to Richardson who bravely took on a 50/50 with the advancing keeper to seal the match for the visitors.

Melbourn face Division Two rivals Cambridge University Press in the next round.

Baldock Town 7 Whitwell Village 0

BALDOCK Town started 2007 with a bang, crushing Whitwell Village for the third time this season, in the opening round of the Greg Cup.

The villagers who beat the Reds at the same stage of the competition last season, were simply no match as they ran out comfortable winners and set up a quarter-final tie away at Division One North strugglers Benington.

The Reds were on top from the word go and took the lead in the 14th minute. Lee Rusbridge wrestled for possession and robbed the visiting full back of the ball.

His cross from the right was knocked down by Michael Masters to Mark Nunn who fired an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner from 20 yards.

Masters had a great chance a few minutes later when he was put through by Brawley, but his attempt at goal failed to test the keeper.

Lee Rusbridge wasted a fabulous opportunity to double the advantage seconds later, when once again a great run from youngster Cameron Brawley put Rusbridge through.

The despairing lunge from Keith Milburn was enough to put him off as he lifted the ball somehow over the bar from eight yards.

Rusbridge made amends on 21 minutes though, supplying a perfect corner for Masters to head into the net from close range for his fifth goal of the season.

Right-back Sam Crow came close on 25 minutes when his 30-yard drive took a deflection and crashed against the bar, with the ball going to safety.

Baldock wasted numerous other opportunities before the break to further increase the lead and seal the match. Their visitors offered very little in the first period, but still had hope at 2-0 going in at half-time.

James Smith was replaced at the break after withdrawing through injury by Ross Haskins, who returned to the club after a short stint out.

Any hopes the visitors had of coming back into the game disappeared four minutes after the restart when Masters added his second of the match. Good build-up play down the right from Crow and Rusbridge saw Nunn receive the ball in the box and his cross was converted by the grateful Masters.

Rusbridge and Nunn were replaced shortly after by Blenkin and Harry Holland,and it was not long before they were to get in on the goalscoring act.

Nick Blenkin netted two in three minutes just five minutes after coming on. Firstly, Adam Shelley laid on the reserve team's top marksman to score and then Holland played in Blenkin for his second.

Harry Holland got on the scoresheet in the 68th minute with a good finish from close range, netting his 14th of the season.

The scoring was completed 13 minutes from time, when a long range effort could only be parried by the hapless visiting goalkeeper straight into the path of Shelley who made no mistake from five yards.

In the end it was another comfortable win over Whitwell for the Reds, but this comprehensive performance stands them in good stead for next week's Junior Cup tie with Berkhamsted Sports, who won 15-2 on Saturday against L'Artista in the West Herts Premier Division.