This last weekend, we had the cup games take place, with Moorlands travelling to Accrington in group A, whilst Crossgate made the trip to Carnforth to face Loko in group B. Unfortunately, in group A, Wray vs. Quernmore fell foul of the weather, whilst in group B, Great Ecc vs. Fulwood was unable to take place.
Loko 1 – 2 Crossgate
Edmondson 62 // Sharp 18, Prout 77
In Group B, cup guests Crossgate braved the traffic chaos on the A6 to venture north and face Loko in the howling wind and rain. With the M6 partial closure and subsequent congestion, it ended up being a two-hour journey for some Crossgate players and kick-off was delayed until 2.30pm.
Loko had a strong squad of 16 including the returning Brad Rodwell who had been out for six weeks due to injury and travels. Crossgate started with 9 players and were up to a full complement of 11 after around ten minutes when the final two finally arrived. It was one of those latecomers who opened the scoring; Dave Sharp picked the ball up in the right channel and stormed inside beating three players before hitting a swerving left-footed shot from 20 yards that flew past the Loko goalkeeper.
The rest of the half was quite a scrappy affair as both teams tried to get to grips with the elements. Crossgate also had to revert to a 4-4-1 after losing a player to injury and had no replacements.
In the second half, Loko pushed forwards more, spurred on by fresh legs. They came close from a corner-kick before winger Adan Edmondson wriggled his way into the box and hit a thumping left-foot shot past the Crossgate goalkeeper at the near post. 1-1 and all to play for… both teams battled hard in the driving rain but defences were largely on top and chances were few and far between. The result was defined by two long-range efforts in the final 15 minutes; one from Rodwell which hit the crossbar and the other from Crossgate midfielder Dave Prout which dipped wickedly over the goalkeeper to give Crossgate a 2-1 victory. It was an excellent game played in great spirit.
Accrington 6 – 3 Moorlands
Schofield 3, 12, Callaghan 50, 68, Mensah 82, Pountain 83 // Higgins 18, Loughlin 45, Bourne 51
In this other game, Accrington welcomed Moorlands to their pitch, knowing that a draw would be enough to see them through to the semi-finals of the Champions Cup. The game started like a dream for them as Jake Schofield opened the scoring after 3 minutes. They soon doubled that lead after 12 minutes, Schofield netting again. A superb start for Accrington! Moorlands weren’t letting Accrington have it all their own way though, however, as Louis Higgins netted a well worked goal for them in the 18th minute. A flying start for both sides, with three goals in 20 minutes! The half continued with both sides battling hard to try and get the next goal in the game. Moorlands grabbed the next goal of the game, netting in the 45th minute through Matt Loughlin, making it 2-2 just before half time.
Moving into the second half and we didn’t have to wait long until more goals to go in, with Accrington taking back the lead in the 50th minute, this time through Callaghan. What a game this was turning out to be – especially as Moorlands scored moments after Accrington had taken the lead to draw level again! Another well worked goal was finished nicely by Bourne, making it 3-3. A breathless game so far! Callaghan scored again for Accrington in the 68th minute, making it 4-3, giving Accrington the lead once more. This was a back and forth game, with both sides still well in it. However, there was a pause in scoring for a short period of time, as both sides caught their breath after a breathless start to the second half! It wasn’t until the final few minutes of the game was the result decided, as Accrington scored two goals in two minutes to secure the three points. First Pountain scored in the 82nd minute and then Mensah scored in the 83rd to get the win. 6-3 at full time, a score that was harsh on Moorlands, but a superb result from Accrington, who get into the semi-finals of the Champions Cup once more!