Chadlington First Team travelled to Hailey Reserves in the Semi Final of the Watts Junior Challenge Cup on Wednesday 17th May and took the win despite a spirted come back by the hosts.
In unusual surroundings for a a cup semi final it seemed as though the message had failed to be received in Hailey. With the pitch having just been cut leaving clumps of grass on the surface it was the goalmouth that caused the most concern. A pre match inspection by the referee resulted in him declaring that the foot deep crater was dangerous. Who could argue that it was unplayable, well Hailey seemingly with their main defence of 'its been like that all season'. Off to B&Q they went and returning with sand and top soil they filled the pit. Game on!
The delayed kick off didn't seem to have affected Chad as they immediately took a lead. There was just 70 seconds on the clock when Peachey was upended by the Hailey keeper and a penalty awarded. Up stepped Jordan Charlesworth who cleverly spotted that the Hailey keeper stood on his line half submerged by partially filled bunker was unlikely to be able to save a powerful shot high down the midde. He didn't. 1-0 to Chad.
Hailey had started slow but steadily got themselves into the game and looked increasingly dangerous on the counter attack. Will Foster in goal however was commanding in his presence and stood firm.
On 40 minutes the lead was doubled by in form Hans Korge who skillfully controlled inside the box and calmly place the ball into the corner. 2-0 and it looked as though Chad would take it into the break. They switched off however and just minutes later Hailey got themselves back into it when Nathan Kimber pounced. Kimber looked dangerous in attack and will surely go on to play for higher league teams in the future. Half time 2-1 Chad.
The next goal would be important and 10 minutes into the second half it was Chad who got it. Haileys charming centre back fouled 20 yards out and Brinley Mayne and Hans Korge stood over the ball eyeing up the chance. It was Mayne that shot with the ball passing underneath the jumping Hailey wall it got to the keeper who had dived too early. Perhaps it was a deflection from the wall but the shot dissapeared beneath him and into the net. 3-1 Chad and it looked as though the game was theirs for the taking.
Hailey though are a resilient bunch and not used to loosing cup games. on 65 minutes they got a goal back when a corner was brilliantly flicked in past Foster. The goal gave them the boost and it was all one way. Just 10 minutes later the equaliser came to a huge cheer from the Hailey supporters. As Chad heads sunk, it looked like the momentum was all Haileys and that they had enough to go on to win the game.
Chad though were determined to turn the tables and dug in deep to settle the game back down. It was then a moment of pure brilliance that decided the game. On 85 minutes Jonnie Walker picked up the ball mid way inside the Hailey half looked up and could see the keeper off his line. He dispatched a shot that sailed over his head and into the net. 4-3 Chad.
Hailey tried to counter but there wasn't enough time in the game and at full time it was 4-3. Chadlington Firsts go through to their first cup final for 10 years.