Fortune Favours Paget
A goal from Fortune Sibanda and a superb performance by Paget keeper Josh Benton sees the Bears progress in the JW Hunt Cup
Paget Rangers 1-0 Tividale
Paget Rangers battled hard against a strong Tividale side to progress into the quarter-finals of the JW Hunt Cup, on a bitter Tuesday night in Sutton Coldfield.
The Bears welcomed a high-flying Tividale to the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground and the visitors’ prowess showed as they dominated the opening minutes.
Paget's Rioual Kousseba-Bakala impressed as Tividale threw themselves forward in an attempt to take the lead early on. In the 20th minute Dimitri Brown dispossessed Paget captain Craig Evans, but his shot slammed off the crossbar and Curtis Cocking’s rebound couldn’t beat Josh Benton.
Paget were not without their own chances and a promising attack in the 28th minute ended with Donnell Benjamin dragging a shot wide, and five minutes later Fortune Simbanda tried his luck from range attempting to lob the Tividale keeper who got a hand to the shot.
Again Tividale wasted a golden opportunity as Brown picked up a stray ball with the first half coming to an end, his shot wasn’t good enough to beat Benton who remained a strong presence between the sticks.
Tividale started the second half in the same manner as the first, but it was Paget with the first good chance of the half; Ryan Conlon did well to receive a long ball on the edge of the box but he pulled his shot wide.
As the visitors struggled to break the Wee Gers down, the home side had another great chance to open the scoring when Billy Fagg megged a Tividale defender on the byline to send a low cross into the path of Tom Cullen, who saw his shot blocked.
In the 77th minute both sides had chances to take the lead within seconds of each other. Cullen fired a shot from range, but Luke Kriskins was able to save it with ease and launch a counter-attack that saw Smith force a great save from Benton.
Minutes later Benton was called into action again as he performed two pieces of outstanding goalkeeper pulling off a double save to deny Smith the opener.
Another Tividale attack followed, this time Craig Gasiewski blocked a cross and the Dale were given a corner, which was cleared to Fagg. Paget’s midfield maestro sent the ball down the left wing into the path of Sibanda who powered forward and sent the ball past Kriskins at the near post in the 81st minute to give the Bears the lead.
The Dale were relentless in an attempt to take the game to penalties forcing a point blank save as the clock was winding down, two minutes later in the 91st minute Tividale were awarded a free-kick in a great position, Paget’s luck continued as the shot hit the wall before being sent back into the box where Benton dived onto it to prevent another Tividale attempt at goal.
Benton’s heroics earned him ‘Man of the Match’, but a few moments after Tannoy Tom announced the accolade Smith was adjudged to have been brought down by Benton who had raced to the edge of his box to punch away a long ball.
To the delight of the travelling Tividale fans the referee pointed to the spot. With almost 50 minutes of the second half played Smith stepped up, and sent the ball into the path of Benton, who guessed correctly saving both the initial attempt and the rebound, before Dean Morris hacked the ball clear. Seconds later the referee blew the whistle and Paget’s fans breathed a sigh of relief as the game was finally won.