Casuals and Pelham won their must win game as they bounced back from two defeats in 2016, beating Bishops Stortford Wanderers FC 4-2 in the interdivisional cup quarter finals. The Pelham players spoke stern words before the start of the game and knew that this was their biggest game of the season so far and that they had to win it. A different formation was tried out as the home side tried to right some wrong forms the last couple of weeks with Sam Carter moving in more central into an attacking midfield role. Pelham started the better of the two sides and we're looking much more lively and organised. Performance wise it couldn't have got much worse than the last couple of weeks but you could tell straight away there was a difference to Pelham in comparison. However despite their good early play it was the away side who struck the first goal as Mark Hainsby was very harshly penalised as the ref judged him to have mistimed his tackle on the Wanderers striker in the box, when in fact it was clear to see he won the ball pretty cleanly. The resulting penalty was slotted away by the Wanderers striker and it was 1-0 to the away side. Pelham didn't let that effect them and continued to push on and have the majority of play. They had a couple of decent chances to score but took too long on the ball and never really tested the keeper properly. Once again, against the run of play the next goal was once again struck by Wanderers as they hit Pelham on the break, drinking the ball over the on rushing Monk to make it 2-0 to the away side. This was potentially turning into a mountain for Pelham to climb, however even after the last 2 weeks results and performances there was a new found fight and attitude about the home side. Pelham knew the next goal would be vital and looked to strike back as soon as possible. That in turn turned out to be 2 minutes later as Pelham loaded the box from a throw in. After a couple of deflections and a bit of ping pong in the box, the ball fell to Steve Callan who spun and shot, firing the ball into the bottom corner. It was just the response that the home side needed before half time. The last five minutes of the half were played out and the score at the half was 2-1 to Bishops Stortford Wanderers. More harsh words were spoken at the half but the fact was Pelham edged the first half but now needed to take the chances that they were creating. Pelham started the better in the second half as well and continued to push for the equaliser. They once again had some good chances through Dan Boyce, Jamie Richards and Steve Callan but failed to take them. However through persistence they pulled a second goal back around the hour mark. A Gavin Brace corner was headed towards goal by Ant Bonini and his powerful header was stopped on the line by a Wanderers defender who punched the ball away sneakily. However it was spotted by the referee who awarded a penalty to the home side and gave the away sides defender his marching orders, sending him off. Gavin Brace slotted the penalty away and Pelham were back in it at 2-2. With the man advantage Pelham dominated the rest of the game and Dan Monk took up a viewing position not having to make another save. However for all the play that Pelham had and the chances they created, they just couldn't finish them off. Some big chances fell to a number of players but unfortunately they just didn't finish them off. Pelham dominated the rest of the game but not finding that killer touch meant at the end of the 90 minutes the game was level at 2-2. Extra time beckoned and Pelham once again continued to push for that winner. In the first period of extra time the best chance fell to Sam Carter who ran through on goal latching on to a through ball and dinged the ball perfectly over the keeper only for him to make a wonderful save and palm the ball away. The end of the first extra time period finished 2-2. A couple of substitutes were made and one of them saw Adam Notley pushed upfront to give Pelham some more energy up top. The sub was inspired and Adam notched Pelhams third goal a couple of minutes into the start of the second period of extra time. Brad Adams picked up the ball on the right and whipped in a wonderful ball to the back stick were Adam Notley was left free at the back post and could nod home into Wanderers net. 3-2 against the ten men of Wanderers seemed like it was game over and the away side started to play like that was the case. The game was eventually wrapped up 5 minutes from the end when Adam Notley fired home his second. Wanderers goal keeper came rushing out of his goal to put pressure on the ball that Dan Arran was charging down, and the striker just managed to get there before the keeper. However the keeper got a block on the ball and it bounced back off him and into the path of Notley who struck the ball first time over the top of everyone and into the empty net. At 4-2 it was game over and the rest of the game was played out, which now means Pelham go through to the Semi Finals where Finchingfield await. Much better performance today boys, a big improvement on the last couple of weeks. Lots of positives to take from the game, with; talking, organisation, playing out from the back, winning every header in the middle of the park and creating some good chances, all much improved on the last two games. However still more to work on, as our passing again could have been better, quicker and shorter, not always looking to play that long ball through to the strikers and being patient in our build up play, as well as getting the ball out to the wings more, which in turn should hopefully get us in behind more and create more goal scoring opportunities. Until our first goal just before half time we didn't really test their keeper, however saying that we did eventually create a lot but need to be much more clinical when we get back in to the league games against better opposition. But the most important thing was the win and we got that, and actually going 2-0 down we could have easily given up like the last couple of weeks, however a much changed attitude was evident which was good to see. Man of the match was a tough one. For me Sam Carter made a difference in that attacking midfield role and got on the ball a lot more because of it. Doug and Ant at centre backs were great and had the confidence to play out from the back, both pretty much starting every single attacking move that we had as a team. But Micks man of the match this week has gone to super sub Adam Notley who's two goals in the last 15 minutes of extra time sealed the deal and put us through to the cup semi finals. Huge league game against Sawbridgeworth Town next week boys, so let's take the same attitude into that game as well. We got a well deserved 3-3 draw against them earlier in the season and since then they haven't dropped a point so we know we need to be st our best next week. But coming off the back of this lets see if we can take some more points off them and give our all before we have a week off and no game the following Sunday. COYCAP!