Whiteley FC were drawn against AFC Paxton in the cup match played at Allotment Road this sunday.
With Marv unavailable Damo drafted in Mo in the centre of midfield and again, with the absence of Paul, Dave H was drafted in at centre back.
With the game kicking off AFC Paxton brought the game to Whiteley and attacked strongly for long spells, utilising the wings well and getting in some decent crosses aimed at their Peter Crouch height striker. The defence coped well, taking no chances with clearances.
With Dan being constantly tested, he managed to keep AFC Paxton at bay with a string of superb saves. The pick of his saves was a great block from their striker from close range, and, when the ball bounced up and the net open, their striker hit the ball, Dan having scrambled back onto his feet managed to somehow claw the ball away to keep the score 0-0.
Although AFC Paxton hit the post and the bar, we still kept them out and managed a few shots of our own to try to test the keeper.
Half time came and the referee blew his whistle and we all went in for a chat and to work out how to get baack into the game after an unusually slow start.
We came out in the second half a completely different team. We started to play the ball around with everyone getting stuck in and winning some great balls.
Unfortunately for us, AFC Paxton grabbed the first goal. With some good work down the right they crossed the ball and, although we cleared, it fell to their striker to place a low shot just inside the near post.
We continued to play our own game and put AFC Paxton under the cosh for long periods, and, with ten minutes left pulled out some pure magic. With good work from down the left from Aidan, who was again having a solid game, he crossed the ball. AFC Paxton tried to clear but the ball fell to Jones. With some good work, he cut accross the penalty area from the left beating two players, before unleashing an unstoppable shot past the keeper and low into the bottom corner.
We were back in the game and pressed for the winner, with Jones again almost winning the match with a smashing drive off the bar 15 yards out.
The whistle went and we prepared for extra time knowing that we could go on and win this game.
Extra time started and both teams went for the important goal that would probably win the game. Both Rosey Jones and Jas having great chances to score, unfortunately maybe on another day they would have gone in.
The fitst half of extra time came and went and we quickly changed round for the final period before penalties.
Again, we took the game to AFC Paxton who were looking dangerous on the break and, with some good defending from both sides, it was looking more and more like it would go to penalties.
With six minutes left on the clock, AFC Paxton broke down the right and put in a testing cross. Damo, knowing that if he got to the ball too quickly might get deceived by the bounce tried t ocontrol it on his chest. Their centre forward nipped in and took the ball way from him before he could clear it. Knowing the striker would have a chance of scoring with only the keeper to beat, brought his man down. With what seemed an eternity, the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty. Their striker made no mistake, hitting his shot low past Dan, leaving him rooted to the spot.
As much as we tried to grab an equaliser, the final whistle came and we had lost the game. It was a cracking game and both teams really enjoyed the tense encounter, complimenting on how well both teams had played.
There were loads of contenders for man of the match namely between Simon, Kev, Aidan, Dave and Dan. Everyone put in a great performance, and the winner of man of the match on this occasion has to go to Dan. Well done Dan, you pulled off some fine saves.