By Ben Challis
Keswick, Wigton Harriers, Netherhall and Bransty Rangers have all secured places in the Quarter Finals of the Cumberland Cup, joining Penrith AFC and Whitehaven AFC who had already won through in midweek fixtures.
Westmorland champions Keswick were up against Westmorland Division Two side Eden Thistle and Carlisle’s Thistle put up a spirited display in the first half to stifle the home side and whilst Keswick might have been expecting a goal feast, this one was 0-0 at Half Time, with Keswick paying the price for a host of missed chances and it wasn’t all one way, with Thistle having a couple of chances, one forcing one excellent diving save from Keswick ‘keeper John Phillips.
Keswick continued to apply the pressure in the second half and Ben Jefferson finally broke the deadlock on 50 minutes, striking home an excellent volley from ten yards out with an unstoppable shot that gave the home side a deserved lead.
Keswick were in the driving seat but Thistle dug deep, and some excellent defence, a masterclass in goal keeping from James Watkinson and some wayward Keswick goal attempts kept the margin at just one goal until Chris Rowley headed home the home side’s second from close range on 70 minutes.
This was followed by Keswick’s third and Jefferson’s second goal with five minutes to go when the striker broke through the Thistle defence and lobbed the ball over an advancing Watkinson for 3-0 and the win.
Smurfit Kappa Cumberland League leaders Wigton Harriers were another team fancied to win by a large margin, up against Westmorland Division Three outfit Langwathby United. Wigton won this, but it wasn’t easy, and Langwathby gave a good account of themselves, but couldn’t match the Wigton goal scoring efforts with two from Jonny Studholme and one each for Ryan Studholme and Sam Irving and an outstanding performance from Dan Martos.
Langwathby will rue missed chances, losses of concentration late on in the game and what ‘might have been’, but did pick up a consolation goal from Jamie Drinkald. for a 1-4 final scoreline at Edenhall.
Netherhall, who are currently propping up the Smurfit Kappa Premier Division, had a convincing win over Division One’s Whitehaven Miners. But the 5-1 scoreline is a little misleading as it was Miners who took the lead midway through the first half from a Chris Moore goal but Netherhall had a 2-1 lead at Half Time.
It wasn’t until the second half that Netherhall secured the game, thanks to a Man of the Match outing from Alec Little and two goals from Adam Tinnion and one each from Chris Dawes, Brett MacMillan and Gav Graham as Netherhall yet again reach at least the Quarter Final stage (the sixth time in six years).
In the last of the four Senior Cup matches played on Saturday and in another all Cumberland League clash switched to the 3G pitch in Maryport, Division One hopefuls Bransty Rangers won out against Premier Division Aspatria in a very close game.
Andrew Trestianu put Aspatria ahead, but two goals from Bradley O’Pray and Mark Callan gave Bransty the 2-1 lead at the end of the first half, and despite second half dominance, Aspatria couldn’t find an equaliser and Rangers go through on yet another successful cup run.
The two midweek fixtures were both decided by a one goal margin, with Whitehaven AFC edging past Windscale with a 1-0 victory thanks to a single goal from Darren Donald and superb performance in goal for Whitehaven from James Bryden. Penrith AFC’s visit to Carlisle City ended with a much needed 2-3 away win for the Bonny Blues, a crucial moral boost for the stuttering Norther League side against their in form but one step junior Hallmark Security Northwest League rivals.
Initially it looked like the Blues’ woes might continue when Penrith went down to an eighteenth minute goal from City, set up from a rebound from a Jake Simpson free kick which Dan Greenslade scrambled in, and it was 1-0 to City going into Half Time.
At At the start of the second half, Penrith skipper Grant Davidson headed home an equaliser from a Connor Shield’s cross and then Penrith took the lead when Davidson set up Shaun Gardner who volleyed home into the corner of the home side’s net from 25 yards out.
Penrith went 1-3 up when Jack Brown set up Adam Robley who curled in a delightful 20 yard shot with five minutes to go. But this game wasn’t over and Carlisle pulled a goal back when Micheal Reed broke free and slotted the ball past Tom Fowler to for 2-3 on 89 minutes, but that was it, and the last year’s losing finalists are through.
The final Second Round matches pit Carlisle City against Pirelli FC (14th November at 19.00) and Cup holders Cleator Moor Celtic up against Unisun Athletic (27th November at 19.30) to decide the final two places in the Quarter Finals.