SportsReach Football league – Cup Semi final 2nd legs – 24th February

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This weekend, the two cup finals would be decided, with plenty still to play for in the semi finals of each game. Fulwood made the long trip to Wray, hoping to find a way of defeating them, whilst Accrington travelled to Quernmore with a strong advantage – although needing to be wary of Quernmore’s strong second leg performance against Lancaster. A depleted Great Ecc travelled up to Loko, aided by the returning Dan Ball and it was the second leg of the Saltayre Derby, as Moorlands faced Lancaster.

Wray squeeze through past plucky Fulwood

Wray 2 (6) – 2 (6) Fulwood

Fawcett 42, 75 // Luke Dean 2, Aaran Smith 58

Two goals from Jake Fawcett saw Wray reach the Champions Cup final after a hard fought 2-2 draw with Fulwood on Saturday afternoon.  The result meant the score was tied 6-6 over the two legs but with Wray scoring four away goals a fortnight ago, they prevailed on the away goals rule and will now head to Squires Gate for their second Cup final appearance in as many years. Wray certainly didn’t have it all their own way in this tie however and it was Fulwood, just like in the first leg, who started on the front foot and they took an early lead with a stunning curling effort from the edge of the area through Luke Dean in the second minute of the game. With the wind in their sails, Fulwood kept coming and only a fantastic goal line clearance from Joe Atkinson prevented the visitors from going further ahead. More chances came their way but after failing to take them, Wray battled their way back into the game and they got their reward 10 minutes before half-time. The ball landed at the feet of Fawcett and despite no clear shot on goal, the Wray front man swiveled and hit an unstoppable effort which flew past the Fulwood keeper’ into the top right corner. That goal gave the home side some much needed confidence going into the second-half and they came out brightly after the break.

Fulwood continued to give their all however and after going close with a strike which skimmed the top of the crossbar, the away side regained the lead with a clinical counter attack which saw Wray keeper’ Wayne Hutchinson beaten with a well taken low drive by Aaran Smith in the 52nd minute. Now in danger of being knocked out of the competition, Wray upped their game and with time running out they got their equaliser. Captain Ben Wallbank did brilliantly to keep the ball in down the right hand side and after playing in Martin Huddleston, the winger crossed for Fawcett who fired in to secure a 2-2 draw for Wray and with it, a place in the Champions Cup final.

Accy reach cup final

Quernmore 1 (4) – 1 (10) Accrington

Yates 1 // Riley 32

Quernmore came into this game hopeful that they could get a result against a good Accrington side, hoping that the return of some key players would help their cause. Quernmore’s hopes were further aided when they scored after only 1 minute, Joe Yates netting for the home side. That was the first of 6 goals they needed to score to stand a chance of reaching the final. A tough ask, but not impossible! However, the task was to be made much harder in the 32nd minute, Eddie Riley netting for the away side, giving them an important away goal and meaning that Quernmore had to score 7 to stand a chance of getting through. Quernmore kept working hard, feeling that they should have scored more goals and probably won the game, but Accrington did enough to keep the scores level and ultimately, their first leg performance won the cup tie for them.

Lancaster squeeze into final

Lancaster 1 (7) – 3 (6) Moorlands

Melody 14 // Own Goal 18, Ohakwe 29, Grundy 63

With two exciting encounters already this season, this game had much promise – and didn’t fail to deliver. Lancaster, missing multiple familiar faces, were eager to finish the job and see it through to the final. Moorlands, wanting to write their own cup-story, would not let Lancaster have it all their own way. Jason Hettrick shared the pre-match word looking at “God and the Bible. Are they still relevant in the 21st century?”. Speaking to a large number of university students, a written assignment was read out (to be shared online soon).

It was Lancaster who started the game brightest, playing some good football, keeping it tight at the back and having the odd shot at goal. The breakthrough game in the 14th minute. A throw-in played through for Damian Melody, who calmly took the ball to the left of the box and put it past the Moorlands keeper. 1-0 to Lancaster. Moorlands, getting a bit of a wake-up call raised their game and put pressure on Lancaster, winning a quick corner. The corner was played in with a Lancaster defender coming out to meet it. Unfortunately for him, looking to put it wide, the ball was placed in to the corner of the net. Two Lancaster goals and the score was 1-1! With that the game became much more even with both sides putting pressure on each other. On the 29th minute, through another corner, Moorlands took the lead. A good ball in to the back saw Moorlands defender Kevin Ohawke rise highest to, very neatly, place the ball in the back of the Lancaster net. 1-2 to Moorlands. That was it for the rest of the first half with the game very much even. Lancaster perhaps unlucky to go in at half-time behind.

The second half started the same way the first finished with both teams going at it and both having chances on goal. It wasn’t until the 63rd minute that things changed. Moorlands played a good ball through and past the last defender. The Moorlands attacker Grundy calmly put the ball past the Lancaster keeper – but that wasn’t the end of the action! As the ball was being brought back to the centre circle, a moment of madness saw the Lancaster keeper kick out at a Moorlands player trying to retrieve the match ball. Sadly, this left the referee with no choice but to pull out the red card. Wanting to put earlier wrongs, right. The Lancaster defender put on the gloves and stepped in to the net. With 30 minutes to go, Lancaster changed their shape in order to keep a tight back line. Moorlands continued to put pressure on with Lancaster attacking in between. There were a couple of moments whereby the stand-in keeper had to perform, but otherwise Lancaster kept it tight and saw the game through to the end without conceding further.

Great Ecc fly through!

Loko 0 (3) – 5 (10) Great Ecc

// Sharples 10, Ball 24, 86, Sheilds 30, Own goal 68

Great Eccleston booked their spot in the League Cup final against Loko, confirming their third cup final appearance in as many seasons. They started of very quickly, striker Jack Sharples netting for Eccy to increase their advantage, in the 10th minute. Just 15 minutes later they had doubled their advantage, through returning striker Dan Ball. Their advantage was tripled in the 30th minute, Tom Sheilds netting for Great Ecc and virtually putting the result out of sight against Loko. The next goal of the game took some time to come, a Loko own goal adding a fourth to Great Ecc’s tally in the 68th minute. Finally, in the 86 minute, Dan Ball reminded everyone what they had been missing by netting his second of the game in the 86th minute. 5-0 to Great Ecc and 10 – 3 on Aggregate.

Confirmed Cup Finals

Tuesday, 13th March

Great Ecc vs. Lancaster

Thursday, 15th March

Accrington vs. Wray