With some unusual faces on the subs bench, this cup match was an opportunity to for Heddon St Andrews to display the strength, depth and quality of the squad, and to maintain the strong work ethic and effort level from recent performances.
Despite the fact Heddon had already beaten Adam and Eve in the two games played against them this season, it was well known that the game was not to be viewed as a walk-over, as it was in the 16-0 victory at the beginning of the season, having recently played them away in a 4-1 victory, in which they showed significant improvement compared to their previous performance against Heddon.
In the early stages of the first half, the usual quality of the Heddon team was certainly not demonstrated, as Heddon lacked composure and confidence on the ball, with a poor start in all areas of the pitch. The woeful start proved costly, with Heddon conceding an early penalty, as a result of a sloppy challenge from skipper Phil Edmondson inside the box. Adam and Eve converted the penalty, leaving Heddon in a slightly worrying situation, finding themselves 1-0 down in the very early minutes of the first half.
Following the early goal, the performances of a mere few Heddon players began to improve slightly, with Ciaran Porter putting in strong challenges on the opposition, and winning key 50/50's in the middle of the park, and JOD beginning to display what proved to be a very impressive defensive performance at left back, preventing numerous opposition counter-attacks and crosses. The overall performance of the team was still well below par, with the likes of Dan Walker, Frankie, and Richy Harrison having an unusually quiet game.
As the first half progressed, Heddon fortunately equalised with a powerful header from Ross Bailey, inside the box, following a well delivered corner from Appaz.
With half time approaching, the overall performance of Heddon began to slightly improve further, however not enough to net another goal before half time, with the score remaining at 1-1 at the break.
As expected, the gaffer was less than impressed with the performance in the first half, and decided to substitute struggling Phil Edmondson, for the one and only Jesus Christ (Alex Burnie) at right-back.
As play resumed, Heddon gained the advantage for the first time in the match, with super-sub Alex Burnie continuing his impressive goal scoring record, and netting from Appaz' well-delivered corner. (50 mins, 2-1).
Following the lack of significant improvement from the Heddon players, and the need for more dangerous attacking options on the pitch, Mark Murtagh (who’s Dad funnily enough is also called Murtagh) and Sean Hownam were brought on for Richy and Frankie. As the game progressed however, the two new substitutes also had a quiet game, failing to combine and produce goals for the remainder of the match.
With play continuing, the visitors produced numerous dangerous counter attacks, from which Heddon were very lucky not to concede, as the effort and performance level continually failed to improve. Very questionable kicking from Bull in goal was also unusually poor, playing as if he'd lost his big toe.
Heddon introduced two more substitutes, with Andy Appleby making way for Dan Fleming (65 mins), and Oli Woods coming off for Dan Ramshaw (70 mins).
As the game continued, both teams had a quiet spell, failing to score a goal until the visitors pulled one back late on, capitalising on the poor performance of the Heddon team, and scoring a equaliser. (83 mins, 2-2).
When all hope seemed lost, Heddon picked themselves up, and pushed for a winning goal late in the second half. As a result of a good delivery from the left side of the pitch, the winning goal again came from the Messiah himself, who got away from his marker, and scored from a Ross Bailey flick on. (87 mins, 3-2).
With Heddon now in the lead, it was important that the lead was maintained. With two late corners for the away team, the opposition goalkeeper came up to increase the number of bodies in the box, and almost scored from the second!
Luckily the corners were well defended, and Heddon's lead was maintained until the final whistle (Full Time, 3-2).
Heddon's man of the match was promising youngster Joe O'Donnell, who produced an outstanding performance at left back, of which even the likes of Paulo Maldini and Stuart Pearce would be proud.