Dave Strachan Knockout Cup
Harold Hill F.C. complete treble
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Academy Soccer win after a night of drama
Academy Soccer F.C. 2 Felsted Rovers F.C. 2 a.e.t. – Academy Soccer win 5-4 on penalties
A night of pure drama. This game had everything goals, great saves, defensive errors, goalkeeping blunders, misconduct an excitable at times vocal crowd and penalty drama. One which will go into the Mid Essex archives as one that this report cannot justify what unfolded over the period of the game.
In drawing breath let’s start with the fact that this was the second attempt to finish the game. The original fixture was abandoned after 70 minutes following a serious injury to a Felsted player. We wish Matt Bunn a speedy recovery from the double break he incurred on the night. Academy leading at the time by 1-0.
And so part two........
Within 2 minutes of kick off Academy Soccer took the lead. A free kick from the right was headed into his own net by Sam Crow. An unstoppable bullet header from close range.
Felsted immediately sought to restore parity with Leftkos Constatninou driving into the side netting. Josh Lucas was presented with a great opportunity when he broke clear but his attempted lob was palmed away by keeper Bewick.
After twenty minutes Academy doubled their advantage when the Felsted defence presented the ball to John Hanrahan who calmly slotted the ball home. Ben Hurrell went close to adding a third on 25 minutes.
With the half time interval looming the first turning point in the game. The Felsted defence again dallied on the ball, presenting Murray White with a guilt edged opportunity to put the game out of reach of Felsted, but somehow with the goal gaping he shot wide.
Almost immediately the ball broke into the Academy half, a free kick allowed Sam Crow to plant a dangerous ball into the Academy six-yard box, Bewick spilt the ball from his grasp allowing Lucas to tap home and halve the deficit
Half Time Academy Soccer F.C. 2 Felsted Rovers F.C. 1
In the 55th minute another turning point which was a flash point in the game. The Felsted front line fashioned an opening which again saw the Academy keeper drop the ball into the path of Lucas who again tapped home the rebound. This time the Assistant quite rightly spotted the Felsted number 10 in an offside position as the original shot came in. Goal disallowed.
This sparked some unpleasant scenes which saw both Constatninou and Lucas shown second yellow cards, leaving Felsted down to 9 men.
At this point of the game many predicted an Academy victory. However, credit to the Felsted players they dug in and produced an outstanding performance to not only turn the game around but came close to victory. Despite a two-man advantage Academy failed to capitalise.
On 70 minutes Felsted were again awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal. Crow struck the ball goal wards it looked as though Berwick in the Academy goal had dealt with the danger but somehow the ball found its way into the corner of the goal, to the amazement of all watching Felsted had hung in and secured an equaliser.
Felsted had to be grateful to their young keeper Will Brazier who produced 4 unbelievable saves to ensure the scores stayed level. In a night strewn with errors these moments of brilliance stood out which saw Brazier deservedly secure the Man of the Match award.
The nine men had forced extra time
Full Time Academy Soccer F.C. 2 Felsted Rovers F.C. 2
And so extra time. The drama continued.
In the first period of extra time a repeat performance of earlier events. Sam Crow free kick keeper spilled and this time Danny Sutton was the grateful recipient as he headed home.
From 2-0 down, 9 men, Felsted were in sight of what would have gone down as the comeback of all come backs.
It was backs against the wall stuff could they hold out.
Unfortunately, with minutes remaining James Gardner was left unmarked and he placed an unstoppable effort past the helpless Brazier to force the game into a penalty shoot-out.
Crucially Owen Benham missed Felsted’ s third spot kick and with Academy converting all five they ran out victors.
Credit to both sides as all players gave each other a standing ovation during the medal ceremony