First a quick report from last weeks cup semi final: Wolves and Perton 0 v 2 St Marys: Whilst this was a hard fought game we always felt in control and scored our two goals before withstanding pressure from W&P, keeping them largely at arm’s length. Liam covered in goal this week with Phil still away and was an assured presence plucking the ball out of the air on a number of occasions and getting behind a few long range shots. Wolves came closest to scoring when a looping header from a corner was headed off the line by Locke. He also scored both of our goals with a tidy finish from a Harris through ball, followed by a ‘Lampardesque’ late run into the box to slot away a Jones pull back. We missed a number of chances on the break with Beeson coming off the bench and stretching the W&P back line. We look forward to meeting Zion in the final which is always a great occasion, I am sure W&P will be after revenge in our remaining league fixture!
On to Saturdays game away at table toppers Connect. Whilst they are unlikely to win the title Connect have won more than enough matches for us to know what a threat they would be. We went into the game a few players down, but used our squad to still field a strong team. The first half was fairly even possession wise with Connect possibly shading chances using the pace of the Ricketts duo to try to get in behind us. They had a couple of decent chances from tight angles but Phil (back from holiday) was able to save. We also had a couple of chances and good breaks but the ball wouldn’t drop. HT 0 v 0.
Second half we started with more energy and had 3 or 4 great chances to take the lead in the first 15 minutes after which it again became more even, although we were still edging it as we pushed for the goal we knew we needed to stay ahead of Clarendon. With 15 minutes left we switched firstly to two proper wingers and then pushed on with 10 minutes left into a 343 looking for the goal. As can happen when playing a formation you are not used to we actually became less effective and were starting to think that that it may not be our day. Connect were also getting chances and Phil pulled of a game changing save to tip a Rickets effort wide from an angle. This proved decisive as with one minute left we made the break through. The 3 forwards (including by this point De Lacy the CB) put pressure on the Connect defence on the half way line and a slip and miss control left Coleman racing clear. We all held our breath as he tried to keep the ball under control on a bobbly pitch, and ended up close to the keeper on his left foot… but finally he slid the ball under the keeper to keep us in pole position in the title race with 6 games to play. Zion next week in a dress rehearsal for the cup final!