Cropredy sealed their place in the semi-finals of the Ben Turner Cup after a 'Jekyll and Hyde' performance on Saturday. A resolute Middleton Cheney side pushed the OSL league leaders to the wire, as they scraped through in extra-time.
The Premier Division outfit enjoyed large spells of possession during the first half, confidently passing the ball despite a poor surface at Astrop Road, which struggled in the poor conditions. Cropredy pressed well as they looked to break the deadlock, distributing a number of testing balls in behind the Middleton back four. The home side finally succumbed to the pressure, as Cropredy deservedly took the lead before the break through Chay Buckingham. A dangerous ball was dispatched into the box this time falling kindly to Buckingham who drilled the ball past the Cheney keeper to make it 1-0.
The second half saw Middleton Cheney take control as a lacklustre Cropredy side failed to continue from where they left off in the first half. Cheney took the game to Cropredy as they searched for an opening. Negligent play from the visitors in the middle of the park saw Middleton press forward, they hassled and chased every ball and got their rewards when they equalised in the 65th minute, Craig Nixon slotted the ball past Kurt Fox into the corner of the net. Cropredy upped their tempo for the final ten minutes of the tie, an overabundance of threatening balls found their way into the box, though none of which caused the Middleton backline too much anguish as they stood firm.
Only a few minutes into extra-time Cropredy had custodian Kurt Fox shown a straight red. A through ball saw Liam Manley race clear, touching the ball past Fox who brought him down outside the box. The referee deeming it a goalscoring opportunity and the visitors we're reduced to ten men. A rejuvenated Cropredy side rallied for the remainder of the first half of extra time, as Cheney endeavoured to avail of the extra man. In the second half it was Cropredy who took advantage, a probing run found Chay Buckingham whose fierce strike flew into the net via a desperate feint touch from the Cheney keeper. With the ten men leading Middleton resorted to route one tactics for the remainder of the game, launching balls into the box as the Cropredy defence stood firm to see the game out. The hard fought win sees Cropredy progress to the semi finals, but a plucky Middleton side proved difficult opponents.
We wish Middleton Cheney all the best for the remainder of the season.
Updated 08:03 - 12 Feb 2018 by Ryan Holmes