WOODLEY SPORTS 4
RUNCORN TOWN 1
Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round, 27th September 2011 . Attendance: 22.
Three goals in five minutes in the second period of extra time saw Woodley Sports beat Runcorn Town 4-1 in the Cheshire Senior Cup and set up a home tie with Tranmere Rovers.
Town were missing the front two from Saturday with James McShane and Leon Williams both suffering from flu, whilst Scott Burton was also missing after picking up an injury on Saturday. Connor Anderson and Jason Carey got the nod up front, with Darren Kinsey and Mark Keddie returning after missing Saturday whilst Warren Bellew and Emini Adegbenro were preferred out wide.
On Woodley's synthetic "3G Pitch", Town got off to the worst possible start by conceding after just two minutes. Despite cries for a foul on Keddie in the centre of the pitch, John Marsden tried his luck from fully 25-yards with a shot that went under Wills.
Woodley had started well and Brad Maylett should have done better on ten minutes when a cross from the left was half cleared to him on the edge of the box, the midfielder shooting over the bar. However Town reminded the Evo-Stik League side that it was not going to be one way traffic when Jason Carey had the ball in the net two minutes later, with the referee blowing for an alleged foul on goalkeeper Liam Higginbotham by Carey before his finish.
Town had a great chance to level it after 21 minutes when Mark McGrath put Kinsey through on goal, with Higginbotham pulling off a fine save from the left back. On the half hour Kinsey set up Carey, with the forward cutting on to his right foot before seeing his shot blocked, with Carey inches away from getting on the end of Ste Latham's cross from the right a couple of minutes later.
Whilst Town had the better chances, Woodley looked dangerous on the counter. After 36 minutes Jack Dorney got away from Latham and advanced into the box with Wills pulling off a good save. A couple of minutes later Maylett, who was causing problems all half with his running, got to the byline and crossed for Marsden who shot wide of the right hand post.
The final chance of the half fell to Town, and pretty much summed up the half. Keddie released Carey down the right hand side, with the frontman cutting inside and shooting wide of the right hand post. It was another good move which was let down by not testing the goalkeeper.
Woodley came out for the second half in determined mood with Town's defence forced to clear off the line twice in the opening couple of minutes. Ten minutes into the half, Bellew got clear down the left and delivered a low cross that was somehow missed by everyone in the box before being cleared at the back post.
Ryan Malone was introduced in the 57th minute with the young winger forcing the home defence onto the back foot with his pace. Twice he got away down the right hand side and crossed for Carey who saw his shots blocked for corners. From the second of these, Bellew delivered to the back post where Latham volleyed in off the post.
It was the least Town deserved, but Woodley almost hit back immediately when a shot from Jordan Stepien took a wicked deflection off Danny Dalton and went just wide of the left hand post with Wills wrong footed. Woodley continued to look dangerous on the counter with Stepien firing over from Adam Mather's through ball after 73 minutes, whilst at the other end Malone went on a weaving run through the home defence but saw his shot deflected for a corner.
With two minutes to go Woodley should have won it when substitute Stuart Rudd got clear of the defence with Wills to beat, but he pulled his shot horrendously wide of the left hand post. And in stoppage time, fellow sub Mark Haslam went on a run from the left and fed Rudd whose shot was saved by Wills before being collected on the line.
With the tie having to be settled on the night, the final whistle meant another 30 minutes of action, with penalties also looming on the horizon. The first half of extra time saw little goalmouth action, but the second saw Woodley take the lead within seconds of the restart.
From kick off, the ball was launched towards the left back area with Stepian blocking Kinsey's attempted clearance. The forward advanced towards goal before pulling in back to Rudd who slotted the ball into the far corner to give Woodley the lead.
Three minutes later it was game over with Haslam picking the ball up 25-yards from goal and curling a lovely shot into the bottom right hand corner and past the fingertips of the diving Wills. It was cruel on Town but it got worse after 111 minutes with Rudd capitalising on a poor header back to Wills before lobbing Town's number one for Woodley's fourth.
On the face of it, a 4-1 scoreline looks harsh but it was not a true indication of the game. If the last three games, two of which have been against Evo-Stik League opponents, have taught us anything it is that accuracy in front of goal is key, and despite once more creating the majority of chances, we failed to test the keeper enough to get the goals our play deserved.
This match report represents the views of the author and not particularly that of Runcorn Town FC.