Saturday, March 19, 2011

Football: Own-goal heartache for lion-hearted Cedars Park

Goal! Daniel Barnard's long-range free-kick deceives Coplestonians
goalkeeper James Dines for Cedars Park's equaliser. 

Club Colours Cup, semi-final
Coplestonians A 3 Cedars Park Reserves 2
(after extra time, full-time 1-1)
A lion-hearted effort from Cedars Park's second string was not enough to earn a place in the Club Colours Cup final.
They were beaten in heart-breaking fashion by a side riding high three divisions further up the Kingsley Healthcare Suffolk & Ipswich League.
It took a stunning diving header in extra-time to give the hosts the initiative. Unfortunately, that came courtesy of Cedars Park substitute Sam Hardwick who beat his own goalkeeper.
That made it 2-1 and the result was confirmed in the last minute with a third before the Stowmarket visitors pulled one back deep into stoppage time.
The Division Three promotion-chasers dominated the first half but could only find the net once thanks to a gritty defensive performance by Cedars Park.
That came after 22 minutes when Lions goalkeeper Craig Dootson pulled off a fantastic save, diving full-length to his right to keep out Ryan Coote's stinging 20-yard drive but the ball fell kindly for David McGregor to fire in.
Magnificent: Lions keeper Craig Dootson.
Dootson was in magnificent form and many Cops attacks foundered on the twin rocks at the heart of his defence, Richard Bell and Mark Ciaravolo.
When the hosts did find a way through, Dootson was invincible, although poor finishing did let him off the hook a few times.
The Division Six side's chances were limited with the hosts own twin pillars, Glenn Turner and Liam Powell, snuffing out any threat from the normally potent visiting strike force.
The match turned on the home side's loss through injury of scorer McGregor a minute into the second half and centre-back Turner ten minutes later.
Suddenly it was Cedars Park who looked the classier side and it was only a matter of time before they found an equaliser.
They needed Colin Booker to head off his own line first but after 58 minutes Bell's header flicked off Luke Uttley only to bounce into home keeper James Dines' arms. 
Dines was left red-faced seven minutes later when Daniel Barnard launched a high free-kick towards goal from 30 yards. It came out of the sun and left Dines hopelessly off his line as the ball looped over him and into the net.
25-goal striker Gerry Daly almost doubled Dines' agony 11 minutes later. Spotting him again off his line, his cheeky chip from an impossible angle bounced off the bar.
Handful: Cedars Park scorer Daniel Barnard.
Daly set up Barnard after a battling run with 10 minutes to go but he fired over from the edge of the penalty area and that proved to be the last good chance of normal time.
Dootson pulled off another superb save midway through the first half of extra-time, stretching out an arm to divert John Burch's goal-bound shot away. But he was left helpless after 101 minutes when Duncan Southgate's cross was headed powerfully past him by Hardwick.
That seemed to knock the spirit of the visitors and they were caught out on the break in the 120th minute with Rhys Williams tapping in from close range.
There was still time for a last hoorah with substitute Jake Hughes chipping in after Daly was bundled over after another surging run.
But the final whistle came less than a minute later to leave Cedars Park beaten but far from disgraced after a thoroughly entertaining cup tie played in good spirit throughout.
Coplestonians: Dines, Stokes, McGuinness, Burch, Turner (Williams 56), Powell, Quinn (Taylor 111), Southgate, McGregor (King 46), Coote, Battley.
Scorers: McGregor (22), Hardwick og (101), Williams (120).
Cedars Park: Dootson, Booker, Greenwood, Goddard (Hughes 74), Bell, Ciaravolo, Nichols (Hardwick h-t), Uttley, Barnard, Daly, Gerrard.
Substitute (not used): Beresford.
Scorers: Barnard (65), Hughes (120+3).

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