Run of the mill cup tie...
By Malcolm Lumb
Match Report Courtesy Frickley Athletic
Well that was a dull one, eh? Just the eight goals, 2 last minute equalisers and a penalty shoot out to see here. Whatever else it was, it was wonderful entertainment and the boys in blue showed huge character to edge past a tough North West Counties side and get us into the hat for the next round. Now I hope I can think of enough different ways to describe hitting the onion bag to avoid repeating myself too much….
The Blues lined up with Phil Watt, Brad Mears, Akeem Hinds, Lewis Szanto and Craig Spink coming into the starting eleven. Jammer and Ben Algar moved to the bench with John Williams, Jamie McGuire and Liam Carrick sitting out.
As is the norm at the moment, we gave ‘em a goal start in the 4th minute when a quick Shelley move put Craig Billington in on goal to slide the ball past Dan Wallis for the opener.
The Blues shaded the next 25 minutes, although both sides hit the woodwork, Frickley’s coming from a beautifully flighted Szanto free kick that came back off the upright. However, it was Shelley who struck next when a 29th minute short goal kick was intercepted by Matthew Waller and he made no mistake in firing past Wallis to double the lead.
Frickley reduced the arrears on the stroke of half time when good work by Szanto on the edge of the box saw the ball worked to Jack Burton to ping the ball into the net for 2-1. HT 2-1.
The Blues came out all fired up and it looked only a matter of time before parity was achieved. It arrived in the 55th minute as some sublime interplay on the left between Hazel, Akeem Hinds and Tyler Walton created another chance for JB to whip the ball past Shelley’s keeper from about 12 yards for his second of the night.
A couple of substitutions then followed as Jameel Ible and Ben Algar replaced Daniel Palmer and Lewis Szanto. Phil Watt moved up to centre forward to add some more physical presence.
It was against the run of play when, in the 79th minute, Jack Burton completed an unwanted hat-trick by scoring at the wrong end. His sliced defensive clearance looped over Wallis and crept into the top corner of the goal to put Shelley in front again. The Blues surged forward looking for an equaliser. It came in the 89th minute, the ball dropped to Haze on the penalty spot, he managed to get his shot off and a wicked deflection sent it into the corner of the net, beyond a wrong-footed keeper. Three a piece. There was still time for Ben Algar’s cross-cum-shot to skid off the bar before the ref blew for the end of normal time. FT 3-3.
The first 20-odd minutes of extra time were largely Frickley’s but, as seemed to be the pattern of this game, that was when our hosts were at their most dangerous. So it proved in the 113th minute when a quick free kick through the middle unlocked the Blue defence and allowed Craig Billington to rifle home his second and Shelley’s fourth.
Surely the Blues couldn’t come back again. But come back they did, Jack Burton, playing upfront in a last-ditch attempt to retrieve the situation, controlled a 119th minute Jacob Hazel cross, lifted the ball over the keeper with an outrageous piece of skill before calmly nodding it past the defender on the line. Four all and penalties it was then. AET 4-4.
Frickley took the first penalty and the keeper got down well to stop goal hero Jack Burton attempt. Shelley put away their first to take the lead but then the next two takers hit the post and missed by a country mile whilst Danny Rowe, Hazel and Tyler dispatched theirs with ease. Shelley scored their fourth penner leaving Ben Algar the task of coolly netting from the spot to win a pulsating cup tie for the Azzurri, 4-2 on penalties.
There may have been moments when we lost concentration in defence but going forward the boys in blue were relentless and just wouldn’t lie down.
Team spirit was tremendous and it was clear to all present how much the win meant to the lads at the end.