On a lovely morning at Foley Road East, Division 3 Boldmere took on Division one table toppers Hardwick Arms in the first round of the Challenge Cup and came away with a brilliant victory after a dramatic penalty shoot out.
Boldmere are improving every week and came into this game on the back of an emphatic 5-1 victory from last weekend.
Once again a few changes were required due to missing and injured players, but what did not change was the team ethic and morale that has been slowly building.
Boldmere were out of the traps early and some nice football and a good team move ended with a bullet header from Liam Hannon that whistled just past the post. Every Boldmere player was closing down the ball at every opportunity thus not allowing Hardwick any time or space to play football. 'Bulldogs' were playing most of the football early on, but as expected from a division one side, Hardwick started to settle and had some decent break aways. From one of these Hardwick took the lead in the 23rd minute when after a goalmouth scramble the ball fell kindly and a Hardwick player swept it home. Boldmere were living up to their motto #wegoagain and continued to press with the dangerous James Duff being released on several occasions by the excellent Brady, Dawber and Shakespeare in midfield. From another good team move Olly Nicholson's brilliant effort was superbly saved by the Hardwick keeper. Half time came with the score at 1-0 to Hardwick.
The second half started and Boldmere continued to press, both teams were now resorting to a fair amount of long ball football as the game became a battle. With time running out the gaffer brought on 17 year old Rhys Coombes and reverted to 3 at the back to apply more pressure in an attempt to get the deserved equaliser. Boldmere keeper Steve Cullen and his defence were marshalling their area superbly and Cullen was called upon to make 2 outstanding saves from Hardwick players.
When another super move from Boldmere ended with James Duff firing against the on rushing Hardwick keeper when put clean through, you could be forgiven for believing that it was not going to be Boldmeres day.....How wrong we were, when an excellent reverse ball from Tom Shakespeare was then delivered too far past the far post by James Duff, it look like this particular attack was gone, however, not in the eyes of Rhys Coombes (pictured below) who chased it and kept in the ball on the bye line, he then delivered a delicious cross into the danger area which was met by a bullet header from Boldmere's skipper and man of the match Paul Brady.....GOAL! 1-1..... which is no more than the excellent 'Bulldogs' deserved.
In this competition there is no extra time so when the referee blew the full time whistle the dreaded penalty shoot out loomed.
The gaffer asked for volunteers and 6 hands went up immeadiatly!
Penalty Shoot out - Boldmere went first
Liam Hannon - Goal !- 0-1
Hardwick - Steve Cullen saves! - 0-1
Tom Shakespeare - Goal! - 0-2
Hardwick - Goal ! - 1-2
Paul Brady - Goal !- 1-3
Hardwick - Goal ! -2-3
Rhys Coombes - Goal !- 2-4
Hardwick - Miss ! - 2-4
Boldmere win on penalties, all Bulldogs slotted home well, a special mention for 17 year old Rhys Coombes who volunteered and smashed home his penalty with aplomb!!.......... Round 2 beckons and Boldmere will take more belief when they return to a league game next week against Halfway Reserves #wegoagain
A superb result and performance from Boldmere, hopefully with players returning next week, the 'gaffer' will have a nice selection headache!