The draw for the cup landed us another clash with Atletico with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs. We knew that compared to our last two encounters in the league that today was going to be a totally different challenge and credit must go to our opponents who gave us our toughest test of the campaign so far. Sam O'Neill was handed a start alongside James Boner to deal with their long ball threat in what was his first start since the opening day of the season as was Alex McDonald. Atletico started on the front foot and if not for a very good save in the opening minute by Joe Wilson we'd have found ourselves 1-0 down a lot sooner than when they took the lead. They got the breakthrough that their ferocious start to the game deserved in the 23rd minute when a direct free kick was put into the box and we failed to clear with any conviction. The ball dropped and was smashed into our net leaving Wilson helpless. The game had everything you'd expect from a cup clash and it was apparent their game plan was to try and impose a physical contest to unsettle us. Our response to conceding was positive although some of our decision making in the final 3rd was poor in comparison to our own standards. Charlie Hacking was one on one with the keeper in the 31st minute and was taken out when he pushed the ball around him. The referee had no intention in pointing to the spot however we felt he should have been shown red for an awful challenge that forced our top goal scorer off with a knee injury. The chance to draw level was denied when Zico Williams normally so clinical from 12 yards struck the resulting spot kick over the bar.
Atletico had a golden opportunity to double their lead just 2 minutes into the second half when O'Neill was penalised for a challenge defending a corner which seemed very harsh. Luck was well and truly on our side however when their skipper put his spot kick wide of Wilson's right post. That sparked a great reaction from our lads and the equaliser finally came when Gift Sibanda who had came on for Hacking was brought down again by their keeper and another penalty was awarded. This time our all time top goal scorer made no mistake as he cooley slotted home to level the score-line up. Sibanda then put in a mouth-watering cross a minute later that found Alex McDonald who's half volley came off the post. The turning point came when their number 6 was shown a second yellow card that gave us 27 minutes with a one man advantage to try and nick the win before extra-time. Huge credit again to Atletico however who dug in and made things difficult for us and kept trying to put our backline under pressure. Super sub Ethan Danku however had other ideas when he took McDonald's pinpoint switch pass under control on the edge of the box and drilled a low finish into the far corner to put us ahead. Zico William's corner in the 70th minute was diverted into their goal by their centre half to make it 3-1 and 2 minutes later McDonald was put through on goal and unselfishly squared to Sibanda to tap home for his 10th of the season. Not our best performance of the season by any stretch however in cup football ultimately it's all about getting through. It now secures our place in the semi-finals as the defence of our cup remains in tact as we dust ourselves down and switch our attention back to league matters in a weeks time.