Home cup match played on 18 October 2015.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

30 minutes extra time played. Casuals and Pelham FC won the penalty shootout.

Casuals and Pelham once again did it the hard way in the cup but held on to beat Kimpton on penalties in the second round of the county cup. As with their last three cup fixtures, Pelham made it hard for themselves by going down to 10 men with what turned out to be a lot of the game still left to play. Pelham started the brighter of the two sides and dictated the game from the off. They were the only team to create any real chances in the first half and deservedly took the lead on the 15th minute mark. Adam Notley started upfront after his impressive substitute performance there last week against Sawbridgeworth Town and scored the first of the games goals. A long punt up the field from Dan Monk saw the ball bounce around the Kimpton backline before Adam Notley latched on to the ball and hammered home a shot on target which the keeper had no chance of saving. Pelham continued to dominate after the first goal and came close to doubling their lead on several occasions. However the lead was eventually doubled about ten minutes later when the ball fell to Gavin Brace on the half way line, he then looked up, saw the keeper off his line and attempted an audacious lob which ended up being inch perfect, scoring from just inside the oppositions half. With Pelham scoring two wonderful goals and being well and truly on top, it seemed as though it would be an easy afternoon for the home side. However with Kimpton still not carving out a real clear cut chance, they halved the deficit with five minutes left in the first half. The away side won a direct freekick just on the edge of Pelhams area and decided to go for goal. However, it appeared the freekick takers kick didn't quite go to plan, and instead of curling it into the top corner he scuffed his shot under the jumping wall and into the bottom corner. Pelham dropped off for the last part of the first half and Kimptons tails were up after their goal. However the home side held firm and the score at the half was 2-1. Pelham knew the next goal would be vital as well as the first 10/15 minutes of the second half. They came out stronger than the end to the first half but so did Kimpton. However once again it was the home side who created the better of the chances and very nearly went ahead when Adam Notley had two chances cleared off the line back to back, and instead of getting his goal, he picked up a booking after a tangle with the keeper. Five minutes later Notley went diving in to a challenge which unfortunately he never looked like winning, and clocked that himself by half pulling out of it. However the ref deemed it enough of a commitment into the tackle to warrant a second yellow card and gave Ads his marching orders. Pelham would once again be playing a cup game with ten men and were in a familiar situation. With 55 minutes gone on the clock, the home side knew they would have to dig in deep and hit the away side on the counter attack. However with both Dan Boyce and Ant Hamilton-Pilot already struggling with injuries in the game, Pelham were essentially down to 8 men. However they dug deep and defended well. Their brave defending was however eventually breached and after a bit of pin ball in the box the ball was stroked into Pelhams net by the Kimpton striker, evening the game at 2-2. Pelhams heads dropped slightly and it felt a long way to go and a lot of effort to claw the lead back. Pelham rode their luck at times and Kimpton could quite easily have won the game if their finishing had been better. However the final whistle blew and the ten men of Pelham held on to keep the score at 2-2. Extra time beckoned and Pelham knew that once again their ten men would have to put in another half hour shift. Once again Pelham aimed to hit them on the break and over extra time did create a couple of chances to win the game but couldn't find that finishing touch. Kimpton also had a good few chances to win the game but as with the first 90 minutes, their finishing was not up to scratch and they wasted what chances they had. With extra time over and neither team separated it finished 2-2 and some brave defending for the home side saw the game taken to a penalty shootout. Dan Boyce won the toss and decided that Pelham would take their penalties first. Pelhams first five in the shootout were the quickest hands up to volunteer after the game and all five seemed confident of converting. First to step up was Gavin Brace who took his penalty calmly, placing the ball down the middle as the keeper dived to his left. 1-0 to Pelham. Up stepped Kimptons first taker who also put his shot down the middle which Dan Monk was equal to making his first save of the shootout. However the ref ordered the penalty to be re-taken as the striker took the penalty before the whistle had been blown (not our problem I thought but oh well). With a chance to redeem himself the Kimpton striker decided to go for a corner this time and tucked the ball away making it 1-1. Mark Hainsby stepped up next and easily tucked the ball away with the keeper not even positioned in the centre of the goal making it 2-1 to Pelham. Kimptons second taker stepped up to take his and once again Dan Monk was equal to his first attempt, thankfully this one stood and Pelham stayed ahead at 2-1. Ant Hamilton-Pilot stepped up next for Pelham and took the penalty of the shootout, tucked right in the bottom left hand corner, the keeper with no chance. 3-1 to Pelham. Kimpton scored their next penalty making the score 3-2 having taken 3 penalties each. Brad Adams was the next volunteer to step up and made it 4-2 to Pelham but only just as the Kimpton keeper very nearly saved. Kimpton needed to score this penalty to keep them in the game, but couldn't convert as Dan Monk saved with his feet and the ball span over the bar, Casuals and Pelham winning 4-2 on penalties. Not a great performance today lads but the county cup is so hard to motivate yourself and get up for. However even though we didn't really get out of second gear and ended up playing with 10 men for 65 minutes we managed to get the result in the end. That's unbeaten in the last five games now and we need to take confidence from that and into next weeks big game against top of the league Hatfield Heath. Micks man of the match this week deservedly goes to Dan Monk. The Monk for me as well had his best game in a Pelham shirt I've seen and dominated his area all game being first to everything. He also made a couple of vital saves during the 120 minutes, punched every corner he needed to well, talked and organised the back line as well as playing sweeper keeper at some points. He also made two (but really three) saves in the penalty shootout to ultimately win Pelham the game. As I said to him after the game, not sure what the hell has doing putting a performance in like that in the county cup and not the league but let's hope he takes it in to next weeks game, but deserved man of the match this week for sure. Also this will be Micks last man of the match for a while as it will be his last game attendance for a while. Mick unfortunately is going to be out of action for a while due to personal health issues and will be greatly missed on the sidelines and I would just like to thank him for all the hard work he has put in over the years, and we hope to see him fighting fit again on the sidelines before the end of the season. Man of the match will now go down to a texting vote after the game on a Sunday from all players involved in the game (basically I've bottled picking one and treading on people's toes). On to next week and the big one at Hatfield Heath, a win is needed boys to keep us in the mix for promotion. COYCAP! it

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