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

Casuals and Pelham showed desire and played as a team as they held on with ten men to win their league cup quarter final against Saffron Hawks FC 3-2. Pelham have been in great form recently and the game started as any other. Pelham were a little slow out the blocks but found their feet after five minutes or so. They then took an early lead as a free kick around the half way line was whipped towards the box, where Rob Parrish won the initial flick on and Tim Shaw slotted cooly past the advancing keeper. Not long after that though the game was turned on its head as the Saffron Hawks striker burst through on goal, where Ant Hamilton-Pilot didn't quite get close enough to win the ball and ended up taking the strikers legs away and giving away a penalty on twelve minutes. Not only that but Ant was sent off as he was the last man and denied a goal scoring opportunity. A slice of luck for the home side though as the penalty was blazed well over the bar and the score line stayed at 1-0 for the moment. Dan Arran was sacrificed and the change was made for Pelham to set up, stand firm and break on the counter attack. It looked as though it was going to be a long day for the home side and a day where roll on roll off subs were going to be used to full advantage. However Pelham stood firm and rode out the next fifteen/twenty minutes in which they worked their socks off and battled hard. The home side also broke through on a couple of occasions and there was a sense that the counter attack for Pelham could come handy. Fresh legs were brought on constantly throughout the game to keep the home side fresh. Saffron Hawks had limited chances in the first half considering they had a one man advantage for the most of it, however they did strike back before the end of the first half. Pelham had resisted for so long but they just over commited a little too much on a freekick on 44 minutes and were punished when Saffron Hawks hit them on the break, working their way up the pitch and slotted past the Monk. With the score at 1-1 at the half, Pelham knew it would be a big 45 minutes. The second half saw more changes made and once again the roll on roll off subs were used to full advantage throughout the whole of the second half. Pelham started the second half surprisingly well seemed so much was put into the first half but unfortunately were caught out again as tired legs started to set in and the away side took full advantage. Hawks went 2-1 up as the ball was worked through and the striker took the shot early to catch the Monk off guard and put the away side ahead for the first time in the game. However Pelham knew they were not out of this yet and didn't give in for one moment. They needed a quick reply and that's exactly what they got when Mark Jolleys corner was whipped in towards the six yard box and Dan Arrans thumping header found the back of the Saffron Hawks net. Pelham kept switched on and continued to work hard. Both sides had chances to take the lead with the home side having the best one as Liam Perry found himself unmarked at the backs post with the whole goal gaping, only for him to put the ball a wide (somehow.....sorry Liam). The home side were very much in the game still and with around twenty minutes to go Tim Shaw was brought down on the edge of the box for a freekick. There was only one thing on his mind and that was to try his luck and shoot at goal, and doing so found the top right hand corner to send Pelham into a 3-2 lead. Pelham dug deep for the last twenty minutes and knew they would have to ride their luck. Although Hawks did have their chances with two of them being cleared off the line by Steve Willet and Dan Boyce, they didn't push on or do enough to win the game. Pelham played most of the last five minutes in the Hawks half and tried to keep the ball in the corner and run the clock down as much as they could. A feeling of pride and relief as the final whistle went and the game came to an end. In terms of work rate and performance, Casuals and Pelham fully deserved the win as the away side just didn't do enough to win it. Top performance from every single player today, everyone needed to be at the top of their game and no one disappointed. Normally Micks man of the match would have gone to Timmy for the two goals but today he has given it to Steve Willett, who ended up playing four different positions (LM, CM, RB, CB) throughout the game and dominated in every single one. Although we have a relatively new squad this season, today proves how well we have integrated and that when we do need to dig deep and works hard, we can and we can do it as a team. Good win lads and we move onto the next round, but first and foremost, let's wrap this league title up. COYCAP

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