The first leg of the SportsReach Champions Cup quarter finals took place this weekend, with plenty of goals being scored and plenty of great games taking place. Fulwood traveled to Moorlands in an early kick off, Wray made the trip down to Great Ecc again, a week on from their exciting 4-4 draw, an in form Quernmore traveled to Lancaster and Accrington made the trip to Loko.
Wray squeeze tight victory
Great Ecc 2 – 3 Wray
Bill Gibbons 51, Toby Parker 61 // Will Preece 8, 10, Mark Ellershaw 73
Just 7 days on from their exciting league game, the leagues top two arrived hoping that they could this week get the better of each other in this tie. It was the visitors who started on the front foot and within the space of 10 first half minutes; they found themselves 2-0 up. First, William Preece expertly finished George Whitaker’s sublime cross into the top corner with his so-called “weaker” right foot, before that same duo combined just minutes later, with Preece tapping in from another fantastic Whitaker assist. 2-0 at half time.
Into the second half, Great Ecc came out fighting, determined to pull a goal back. With the added bonus of now having the wind behind them, as Wray had had for the first half, the home side were soon putting the visitors on the back foot. They were soon probing the Wray goal and putting the visiting defence under prolonged pressure. It soon paid off as Toby Parker wriggled free in the area to fire a ball dangerously across the Wray goal. What followed was a goal line scramble as Bill Gibbons laid on the floor somehow managing to prod the ball over the Wray goal line. 1-2. Self belief flooded back into the home side, and they continued to push for an equaliser. That most of the 2nd half was played out in the visitor’s half spoke volumes of the pressure Gt. Ecc showed. A Wray defensive error allowed Jonny Leech to feed the ball through to Toby Parker, who made no mistake firing the ball home for a well deserved equaliser. 2-2.
Following some good work inside the box from Nick Taplin, Whitaker showed his class and quality to torment the Great Eccleston defence before firing in a low cross which was steered home by Ellershaw. Great Ecc continued to push with Jonny Leech hitting the post and Toby Parker going close with a long range shot only for Wray’s Wayne Hutchinson to pull off a worldy save clutching the ball away from the top corner. Full time and it ended 3-2 to Wray, taking a slender lead into the second leg.
10 men Quernmore unlucky to lose
Lancaster 3 -2 Quernmore
Martin Lewis 58, Adam Luczynski 78, Tom Luxton 80 // Bradley Graham 41, James Heron 71
Before the game, Lancaster player Jason Hettrick shared some personal testimony before reading out the script for a video called ‘Reverse thinking’. The game had a dramatic start, with Quernmore full back James Burr sent off after three minutes for a late tackle. Lancaster, spurred on by the sending off, tried to take control of the game, having several attacks. However, Quernmore held out and using the pace and powers of the wingers Ahmad Agha and Matt Sowerby, they began to get some chances as well. The game was a real battle, Quernmore determined to get a result of some sort and not allow Lancaster to have an easy game. Lancaster had one great chance late on in the first half. A corner sent into the box was met by the head of a Lancaster player and saved on the line by keeper Neil Oldfield. In the 41st minute though, there was to be a breakthrough for Quernmore. Another corner was sent into the box, the Lancaster keeper coming for it – only for it to be taken from his grasp by a Lancaster player, founds it’s way to the feet of left back Bradley Graham who smashed it into the empty net.
The game continued in the same fashion in the second half, Lancaster having the majority of the pressure and attacks, but were struggling to find a way through the dogged Quernmore defence and midfield. However, in the 58th minute, Lancaster were allowed a way back into the match. Another corner was sent into the box, only for a Quernmore player adjudged to have fouled a Lancaster man and so the referee awarded a penalty. Martin Lewis stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home for Lancaster. 1-1. Another corner then resulted in another goal. This time again in Quernmores favour. The ball was sent into the box by Bakri, with James Heron nodding it in. 20 minutes to go and Quernmore, against all the odds, were back in front. But again, the lead didn’t last. A free kick sent into the box, evaded keeper Oldfield and from about 2 yards out Adam Luczynski couldn’t miss. Lancaster began to press more and more, looking to get the third goal to win the game. The goal began to lead a charmed life, again another Lancaster corner cleared of the line by keeper Oldfield again.
However, finally in the 80th minute, Lancaster and Tom Luxton found the third goal for Lancaster. Dribbling through three tackles, he found himself one on one with Oldfield and made no mistake, slotting it home. Quernmore continued to press, looking to get the sixth goal in what was a great game. However it was not to be and the game ended 3-2 to Lancaster. Still all to play for in the second leg on the 27th January.
Richardson hat trick puts Accrington in dream position
Loko 3 – 6 Accrington
Brad Rodwell 36, Glen Hanmer 61, Adam Edmondson 83 // Craig Richardson 8, 42, 58, Jake Schofield 62, 72, Paul Pountain 74
Accrington found themselves in a dream position following their victory over Loko in this quarter final tie, netting 6 away goals in this tie. They started the brighter of the two teams, Craig Richardson netting after 8 minutes for Accrington. However, despite Accrington’s bright start, Loko were the next to score, Brad Rodwell netting for Loko in the 36th minute. However, it was not level for long, Richardson scoring in the 42nd minute, giving them the lead again, just before half time.
13 minutes after half time and Accrington and Richardson had their third of the game. Richardson’s hattrick had put Accrington into a great position. But again, Loko were not going to let Accrington have it all their own way, Glen Hanmer netting in the 61st minute to make it 3-2. But again, only one minute later, Accrington had a two goal cushion again. This time Jake Schofield netted in the 61st minute. 10 minutes later it was five for Accrington, Schofield netting again in the 72nd minute. Two minutes later, player manager Paul Pountain netted his first and Accrington’s 6th of the game. 6-2. However, the scoring was not to end there and Adam Edmondson scored what could be an important third goal for Loko in the 83rd minute. Full time – 6-3.
Shares spoilt between Moorlands and Fulwood
Moorlands 1 – 1 Fulwood
Elliot Clayton 16 // Aaran Smith 90
In the early kick off, Fulwood traveled up to Moorlands. Moorlands took an early lead in the game, Elliot Clayton netting in the 16th minute. Both teams continued to try and find the next goal, which could be very important in the tie. However, it was not until the 90th minute did Fulwood find the second goal of the game. Aaran Smith netted for Fulwood to bring the tie level. The second leg in two weeks will be an interesting game, it being on a knife edge.