Brereton Lion travelled to Walsall to face the Division 1 runaway leaders Magic Lantern in an eagerly antcipated cup tie. With both sides full of confidence coming off a good run of recent victories this would be a test for the boys of Brereton!
Playing in typcially wintery conditions infront of a hostile Lantern home crowd the Lion started the better and moved the ball around well in the midfield with Crozier and Cole working well upfront and Matty Hackett giving the Lantern right back a real run around! As the first half continued it became apparent that the hosts were not at the summit of Division 1 on luck and the 2 Lantern wingers were proving to be real tricky customers! On 30 minutes full back Cockayne had to be replaced by the evergreen Lezniak after picking up a foot injury. The tie swung to and fro with both sides creating chances with Dan Cushion pulling off a host of fine saves. Brereton Lion then took the lead with a lovely goal, some neat play in the centre of the park from Hill fed Cole on right who took a touch before floating in a cross for the rampant Wright to latch onto with a deft header. Before the 1st half was complete a defensive mix up allowed the Lantern winger to smash home from close range and take the tie to 1-1 at the break.
HT. Magic Lantern 1-1 Brereton Lion
After some tempered words at half time the Lion came out with a real impetus and took the fight to the hosts. Chances came and went for both teams in a highly charged cup tie, then the Lion regained the lead with some fine link up play between Houston and Crozier, with the latter playing in the speedy winger who camly slotted the ball past the advancing keeper to put the Lion back in the driving seat! With the Lion appearing to not be content with 2 a powerful goalkick from Dan was latched onto by Crozier who showed bravery when he nipped in and was subsequently clattered by the Lantern keeper, but dusted himself off and tapped home only to see the referee make a major error by ruling out a perfectly good goal claiming Crozier had fouled the keeper.
The Magic Lantern then took the game to the Lion, with a flurry of attacks coming from the impressive wingers and forward. Their dominance led to a corner which they took full advantage of when a bullet header levelled it once more. Shortly after the tie was turned on its head when the Lantern took the lead after a goal mouth scramble fell to a Lantern player who turned the ball home. Brereton Lion were not going out without a battle though and some fine perseverance from Houston grabbed the equaliser after he chased the ball down well and pressured the keeper into an error before hounding the ball into the net.
FT. Magic Lantern 3-3 Brereton Lion
Extra time started and both sides were carrying tired legs, with very little action in the 1st half of extra time it reached half time still 3-3.
In the second half Brereton Lion seemingly self combusted, with a series of Lion showing zero commitment to the cause and throwing their dummies out the pram when it wasnt going their way! The Magic Lantern spurred on by this were ruthless and grabbed 3 late goals to take the tie 6-3 and send the boys of Brereton packing leaving a bitter taste to the final competitive fixture of 2011.
AET. Magic Lantern 6-3 Brereton Lion
Overall, special mentions go to Danny Hackett who played very well despite coming up against a real tricky customer, also to Dan Cushen who kept the Lion in the tie with a series of superb saves. All in all it was a good battling showing by the Lion but when the chips were down in extra time people seemingly lost interest which cost us dearly.