Away cup match played on 03 March 2013.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

A HAT-TRICK from Scott McNichol sent Sportsmans FC into the final of the Frank Bainbridge Cup at Newby Wiske last Sunday as the league’s top two sides produced a thrilling and controversial semifinal. In a classic meeting between league leaders and cup holders, Northallerton Police, who had won the trophy last season, came from behind three times before Sportsmans finally booked their place in next month’s final. The Sporties were given the perfect start when a left-wing cross from McNichol sailed over Police goalkeeper Dean Hudson and into the far corner of the net via the upright, inside two minutes.

McNichol then struck the woodwork with a 20-yard freekick 12 minutes later, but he did double the visitors advantage soon after. Col Anderson was brought down by Gary Shardha on the edge of the area and this time McNichol’s free kick dipped under the crossbar to make it 2-0. But the Police slowly began to get a foothold in the tie and they pulled a goal back midway through the half. Sharda’s ball in from the left found Chris Pattison, and when Stu Dunn cleared his effort off the line, Chris Walker followed up to volley into the empty net. Ben Darville then tested Sporties goalkeeper Michael Corps from close range but the Police were level after 27 minutes.

Darville sent Walker clear and he arrowed a low, left-footed drive past Corps into the bottom righthand corner of the net from the edge of the area. The end-to-end nature of the tie continued as only a fine save from Hudson prevented Andy Ramsbottom restoring the Sporties’ lead six minutes before the break. However, the league leaders did go back in front two minutes into the second period. James Bell whipped in a cross from the left and Anderson’s glancing header looped over Hudson to make it 3- 2. The Police then had to reorganise at the back when Jason Newall limped off, but the holders pulled themselves level for a third time just past the hourmark. Pattison received the ball 20 yards from goal and neatly brushed aside two challenges before firing past Corps from just inside the penalty area.

It was difficult to pick a winner as there was so little to choose between the sides, as has been the case for much of the season, but it was Sporties who went ahead again 16 minutes from time. Anderson went down in the area under a challenge from Simon Pinkney and referee John Havelock pointed to the spot. Once the Police protests had died down, McNichol stepped up to complete his hat-trick, but Hudson produced a fine save to keep out his initial kick. However, the Sporties man reacted quickly to fire home the rebound. With their grip on the trophy now slipping, the Police threw everything forward in the closing stages but the Sporties defence held firm to set up a final meeting with either Henleys Athletic or Broughton and Kirkby Hibs, who meet in the second semi final this weekend.

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