Rovers Through to State Cup Quater Finals
16 May 2012
Amateur football was on the State League stage today as Amateur Premier sides Kingsley and Hamersley, normally accustomed to plying their trade on Sundays, played out an entertaining game at Chichester Park in Woodvale.
Both sides knew that a win here would propel them into the quarter finals with the cherry of a tie with one of the 'big boys'. The game got off to a catastrophic start for Kingsley who found themselves a goal down within the first 20 seconds. A mix up between centre back and Kingsley keeper Kev Towers saw the hapless shot stopper lobbed by his own defender and picking the ball out of his net.
Not to be outdone Hamersley were then guilty of some slap-dash defending as they gifted the ball to Kingsley. The Kingsley winger was calm enough to pick out his striker with a cool cut back and the game was level.
The game went in to half time with the score-line level despite some golden opportunities being spurned. Overall the better of the chances fell Hamersleys way, although Kingsley were always a threat on the counter, but a combination of weak finishing, great goalkeeping and resolute defending meant neither side troubled the scoreboard further.
The second half saw a fairly even competition with Kingsley sitting deep and inviting Hamersley on whilst looking to spring them on the counter. Rovers meanwhile looked to probe and get in behind with the possession they were being afforded.
It was Kingsley that got what they wanted though as a missed clearance presented a foot race between the Kingsley attacker and Rovers goal tender Haig Kingston. With a deft touch the striker got there marginally before the keeper and stroked the ball into the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-1 to the home side in the 70th minute.
Rovers looked to get back in to the game and Kingsley looked to defend their advantage. As the game progressed the Kingsley midfield dropped deeper as the home team looked to park the bus. Hamersley proceeded to lay siege to the Kingsley goal with both the keeper, who showed his amateur State side credentials, and woodwork saving them on more than one occasion.
The threat of a counter attack was still there though, as Kingsleys spritely forwards chased anything that was cleared, and they were only a coat of paint away from extending their lead when an early shot from their striker kissed the post and deflected wide.
Hamersley finally pulled the tie level after an acrobatic finish from James Young. Young flicked the ball into the net as he connected from a whipped in corner from the right. Two minutes later and the away side were in front. Another corner, this time from the left by Young, managed to evade everybody and despite a scorpion kick clearance attempt, went straight into the goal.
The Hammers, now with momentum, continued to push forward and with five minutes left missed a glorious chance to put the game to bed. Logan Crawford, who had caused problems all game, beat two defenders before sliding the across the face of the goal. With the goal at his mercy Dave Howell was unable to convert the cross and the ball, and the chance, were gone.
It was a mistake that Kingsley capitalised on. In the last minute of the second half, Hamersley failed to clear a routine ball in to the box. The miss resulted in a half chance to the Kingsley forward but a crude challenge meant the chance was rightly given as a penalty. With what was to be the final kick of the regulation 90 the Kingsley striker slotted the ball under Kingston into the net to force another 30 minutes.
Extra time was pretty much a one sided affair as Kingsley, who had been starved of possession through much of the game started to tire. Hamersley meanwhile picked the gaps and speedy live-wire Logan Crawford broke through and finished smartly across the keeper into the bottom left hand corner for 4-3 lead.
The second half of extra time mirrored the first with some tired tackles starting to fly in. Tensions frayed and yellow cards were shown with Hamersley's Sam Long sent off for using colourful language when disagreeing with assistant referee Dave Curries decision. Logan Crawford put the seal on the game when he broke the offside trap and used his pace to get clear of the defence and slot the ball under the on-rushing keeper.
Hamersley had recorded a 5-3 win in a pulsating cup-tie that provided great entertainment for the watching crowd. A spot in the quarter final is the reward and Rovers will be hoping to emulate and surpass their 2008 State League Cup run that saw them reach the semi-finals.
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