Port Sunlight in the cup today a chance to reach our first semi-final of the season.
A number of big players missing today, either thru injury or illness or unable to attend.
A fast start was made and we could have taken an early lead great football between Machin, Curran and Hardman released Leslie and he hit a great effort goal bound but it just rose at the last second and flew over the bar.
Moments after that chance Lennon had a double opportunity but their keeper twice pulled off a miraculous save, after being fed by the impressive Dan Poval who was intent on impressing after being given a place in the starting 11.
Port sunlight then pushed forward and as our defence stood firm after a solid Yates tackle a break appeared. Lennon pounced down the right and fed Hardman who in turn played it across goal to Curran who looked like he would score until a scuffed shot with his left foot was saved again by the busy keeper.
James Thomas was up next after good work again in midfield he powered his way forward but his shot just whistled past the post, looking to get another opportunity seconds later he was just denied by a fine tackle.
With the changes we made at the back it took a while for them to steady and it gave Port Sunlight opportunities and a scramble in the box was somehow missed from 5 yards, stand in goalkeeper Philly Bryan was happy to see the chance wasted.
We looked intent on getting the first goal and a great Run and cross by Curran saw Hardman free on the left but it just evaded him from making contact, collecting the ball wide he fired a cross in which Curran was again inches away from making contact and the chance went begging.
The chances were coming thick and fast, the goal would surely come soon, and so it did a wonderful curling ball from Lennon was met by the unlikely head of Dave Leslie and he planted it beautifully into the top corner to send the supporters wild 0-1.
Then Port Sunlight nearly got back into the game Easterbrook was left 2 on one at the back and had no chance as their striker made way into the box but Big Philly B pulled off a great double save to deny them the chance of an equaliser.
We was now on top simple yet destructive football from Leslie and Curran saw another great cross this time from Curran to Hardman who hit a shot which narrowly missed the far post. Seconds later again great play from Curran who thundered into a tackle and played a through ball to Hardman who smashed an absolute bullet of a shot from all of 30 yards which agonisingly cannoned off the post.
A second was coming we could smell it, like in previous weeks Currans delivery from corners has been an opportunity of a goal and he fired one in which Easterbrook did superbly to meet and Machin turned it in smashing it from close range 0-2.
A surprisingly sluggish start to the second Half saw Port Sunlight come firing out of the traps and an early opportunity seen them smash an effort off the crossbar, seconds later Easterbrook took one for the team with a cynical foul, if he hadn’t of it would have left us 2 on one at the back and an almost certainty of a goal….yellow card was inevitable.
Edgey who had been having a solid game, bombed forward and hit a good effort which forced the keeper into a save pushing it out for a corner. The resulting kick was put in inch perfect by Curran again and like in past weeks that man again Easterbrook met with another bullet header which flew past the keeper 0-3.
The game dried out for a few moments as we made a number of subs, Sean Phillips being one who got in the action straight away hitting a decent shot unfortunately too close to the keeper. Then came a stunning solo goal, Easterbrook won a defensive header which looped all the way to the half way line and with Hardman cleverly standing in his own half on the side line he pounced and made his way into the box jinking here and there showing great composure he rounded the keeper and smashed into the empty net 0-4.
Briggs and Miller entered the fray in place of James Thomas and Sam Yates for the remaining 25 minutes.
A counter attack saw Phillips power down the right and fed Leslie in the box who turned and hit a delightful curling effort low into the bottom corner 0-5….you wait ages for a Dave Leslie goal and 2 come at once….cue crowd goes wild.
Moments later it could have gone 100% mental on the side-lines, Hardman hit a belting half volley which smashed off the bar in the scramble after it Easterbrook missed Machin missed and then Leslie smelling a hat trick missed.
10 minutes remaining and long term absentee thru injury Liam Rose came on in place of Hardman.
We wasn’t finished there though, Briggs after good play tried his luck curling an effort wide and a raking ball forward from Curran found Leslie who played a delightful thru ball to Rose who dinked a beautiful effort over the keeper to show us he has still got that goal scoring touch 0-6.
With the clock winding down all that was left was to keep the clean sheet which Philly Bryan deserved after a stunning performance in goal and every one of the lads so desperately wanted, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be as an error from Miller at the back caused him to bring down their striker and a free kick was given, the kick was low and hard but somehow Bryan got down low and saved well but the ball hit the post and came back off the unfortunate Bryan for a goal 1-6.
That’s how it ended, a great performance, some wonderful stuff on show and plenty of good performance’s all round form the starting 11 to the subs everyone played their part.
Curran again showed he is coming of age, Bryan in goal showed if we ever need a keeper again he is the man to turn to with a great performance, Poval and Edge gave encouraging performance’s in full back, Machin is in a rich vein of goal scoring form to go with his performances as too is that man Easterbrook who is providing a big threat from set plays but M.O.M went to Dave Leslie when he bangs 2 goals in you just know it’s a good Leslie performance.
A depleted squad with a number of big players missing should worry teams but the squad we have assembled this season means we can put out 11 players every week and still perform to our top level and today shown this, that was what was most encouraging today.
Into the semi-final we go, we can smell the success but it is still a long way to go and more performance’s like this will give us a good chance of getting it.