Casuals and Pelham FC reached a long overdue cup final after winning 3-1 away at Finchingfield in the Interdivisonal Cup semi-final. After missing out twice last year in a season that Pelham dominated they were not prepared to let another opportunity slip away. Pelham had overcome Bishops Stortford Wanderers in the previous round and Finchingfield had knocked Albury Saints out. On the day you could tell both teams were up for it as they prepared themselves well before the game. However the pitch looked as though it would have a big effect on the days precedings as it was in a very poor condition. Cut up in the middle with no grass on it and although it looked better out wide the ground would fall away from under your feet. The ref did mention that the game could easily be called off but both teams were focuses and ready to play. Finchingfield started the better of the two sides as Pelham just couldn't get going and let the opposition play the way they wanted to. Finchingfield were quicker, sharper and wanted it more than Pelham and it looked as though history could repeat itself from last season. However for all their play and possession Finchingfield didn't really trouble the Pelham goal partly down to the fact that once again the back five were solid as they were last week, this time round with Willett and Jolley partners in the centre and Dan Monk following on from last weeks performance and dominating his area. Finchingfields right winger had a couple of half chances but both were hit too well and blazed high and wide over the Pelham goal. However prior to that it was Pelham who had the first chance of the game about five minutes in, as some good build up play saw the ball fed out wide and a first time cross was met by the head of Sam Carter but unfortunately it was straight at the keeper. Finchingfield continued to dominate the half and it was only on the half hour mark when the home sides striker rolled his ankle on the uneven surface and seriously hurt himself gave Pelham a much needed rest. The lads called eachother in and had a good stern word with eachother on the pitch. It was the kick up the arse they needed and Pelham started to get into the game slowly but surely. Finchingfield were still slightly on too but Pelham were having more of the ball and the game was starting to open up. Pelham struck first of the two sides not long after as Dan Boyce was given time on the ball just inside his own half and he picked out the run of Steve Callan down the middle of the park. Callan held off both centre backs and shielded the ball well but the chance to have the shot appeared to be gone for him, however Sam Carter was following up and Callans layed off ball was struck home by Carter sweetly. That goal gave Pelham the boost they needed and they finished the half much stronger and more organised, and went into the break 1-0 up. Fresh legs were instilled at half time as Jamie Richard and Brad Adams replaced Dan Arran and Adam Notley. Pelham needed to build on the good work they started to produce at the end of the first half knowing the next goal would be vital. They did exactly that and straight away put Finchingfield under pressure with their work rate. Roles had reversed and it was Pelham who were now dominating and dictating play and they extended their lead not long after the break. A dangerous Gavin Brace corner was whipped in perfectly and Mark Jolley got a touch on the ball knocking it towards goal. However it took a deflection and looped up in the air which Jamie Richards attacked and managed to beat the keeper to the ball with his header which was eventually bundled over the line by the defender but was already well on its way in. At 2-0 Finchingfield heads dropped and Pelham were playing some lovely stuff, the confidence was increasing and it showed. A third goal would put the game beyond the home side and that's exactly what happened. Once again a lovely whipped in corner from Gavin Brace was met with a header from Pelham only for it to be half cleared to the back post. Waiting their was Brad Adams who coolly brought the ball down, picked his head up and picked out Steve Willett on the edge of the box. He met Adams pass with a side footed shot which looked like it was to be claimed by the keeper on,y for the ball to take a bobble on the shocking pitch and go in through the keepers legs. Finchingfields heads dropped even further and at 3-0 it was game over with Pelham out working the home side and cruising in the second half. Pelham had big chances to extend their lead but didn't take them as Carter, Perry, Callan, Richards and Notley all had opportunities. However it didn't matter too much as the game looked beyond the home side. Unfortunately that was the end of the scoring as months off started to show and tired legs and minds kicked in for Pelham. Dan Monks and the back four display deserved a clean sheet but poor marking in the last minute of added time saw a Finchingfield player run through everyone and tap home a long throw from the opposition. Not long after the restart the ref blew up for full time with the game finishing 3-1 to Pelham. A mixed review of the game then and definitely a game of two halves. The first half was shocking from us boys and it looked like it was going to be history repeating itself. We gave them too much time one the ball and started so slowly, making them looking like a half decent side. However once we all rallied together when their guy got injured it seemed to give everyone the kick up the backside we needed. Luckily for us the difference in opponent helped today, we had a pretty crap first half but still went in 1-0 up, whereas if that was a team from our league we would have been punished. Having said that the second half was so dominant from us and other than the last minute goal I don't remember Finchingfield having any real opportunity and that's down to our organisation and fight. Once we got into it everyone played out of their socks and you could tell no one wanted to miss out on a final opportunity this time round. It's tough to give a man of the match today as there were so many top performances today, again especially from the back 5. However I'm going to give it to Mark Jolley as he was literally everywhere today. In the five years I've played with him I haven't seen a better performance from him, he was absolutely solid at the back and I haven't seen him run as much as today. Great win guys and now we get in to the business end of the season. Cup final in the bag so let's go on and win that now, five league games left starting at Hawks next weekend so let's push on cement our division one status and see how high we can finish, and finally we do still have one more chance for another cup final which isn't completely out of the question. Big well done again for today boys, now let's rest up and push on for the rest of the season. COYCAP! (Cup Final date is Thursday 17th March @ Bishop Stortfords ground, Woodside Park).