Greenalls PSO 2 Eagle Sports 1
IN a dramatic end to a pulsating local derby, Eagle Sports missed a last-minute penalty as Greenalls avenged a 2-0 defeat a couple of weeks ago to knock them out of the Warrington Guardian Cup at the semi final stage.
Eagle's winger fired his spot kick over the bar after Robbie Hanley and Neil Sutch had scored for the hosts to cancel out Ged McAllister’s early opener.
Greenalls were thoroughly deserving of this victory which marked a first defeat since January for the visitors, who failed to build on a bright start and exited the Guardian Cup at the semi-final stage for the second year in a row.
Eagle got off to the best possible start as they opened the scoring straight from kick-off.
Paul Dobson will feel he could've done better as he got caught in two minds and failed to deal with a through ball which feel to Eagle danger man Ged Mcallister, who's shot spun into the far corner.
Greenalls looked determined to avenge last month’s derby day defeat and Craig Hoyland soon tried his luck from distance, curling an effort onto the underside of the bar as Greenalls grew into the game.
The hosts, current holders of the cup, continued to press for an equaliser and Hoyland again went close on 21 minutes, powering a header over after Sutch had picked the striker out from the right.
When the equalising goal finally did arrive, it came as no surprise to see Robbie Hanley on the end of it.
Greenalls’ top scorer rose highest to head Tomo Lees’ cross past a helpless Neil McDermott and into the net.
Eagle struggled to break the home side down in midfield and were restricted to half chances and long-range efforts for much of the game, with McAllister, Boardman and Chris Quirk all trying their luck before Greenalls took the lead.
After Hanley had been brought down outside the box, Lees was again the provider as he picked out Sutch at the far post with an exquisite free kick delivery.
The midfielder out-jumped two defenders to head the hosts in front for the first time.
Lee Vaughan and Tomo Lees both had chances to extend Greenalls' lead as they looked to press home their dominance in the game.
Some great pressing from Hanley saw him win the ball on the right and he played in Lees, who made space for himself but fired narrowly wide when well placed.
Hanley then nearly sealed it once and for all when he found himself through on goal, but the striker dragged his shot wide and was almost made to rue his missed chance as Eagle wasted a golden opportunity to force extra time.
With a minute of stoppage time remaining and the Sky Blues pushing for an unlikely late equaliser, after a series of high long balls from Eagle, McAllister was tripped in the box and the referee pointed straight to the spot.
Waldron stepped up to take the penalty but blazed over.
Manager Dave Bush said: "What a game. This would have been worthy of a final today.
“We deserved our win and the lads were excellent.
“I don't want to pick out any individuals, collectively they pressed brilliantly all over the pitch.
“When we play like we have the last two weeks we will take some beating.
“We'll be ready for the final."
Team: Craig Clare, Paul Dobson, Gareth Johns, Alex Hardman, Jack Hynes, Neil Sutch (Martin Snagg), Lee Hughes, Mark Hughes (c), Robbie Hanley (Lee Vaughan), Craig Hoyland, Tomo Lees (Ben McWilliams).