Finchampstead FC 5 Cricklade 2By Arthur Strand
December 03, 2012
After an emphatic win in the Reading Senior Cup last week over R.E.M.E. Finches took on Cricklade from the Western half of Division 1in the Blue Fin Assurance Supplementary Cup – Uhlsport Hellenic League at the Memorial Park.
Both teams started off as unknown quantities to each other but Cricklade made the first approach with an early free kick that amounted to nothing.
Finches then mounted a fast reply with Greg Alexander supplying Harry Swabey with an early opportunity but Cricklade keeper, Alistair Ross, stuck out a leg to prevent the ball sneaking in the far bottom right hand corner.
On 10 minutes, Nick Cooper approached the edge of the visitors’ area and was unceremoniously grounded.
He took the free kick himself, slamming it past keeper Ross into the far post netting.
Within 5 minutes, Cricklade mounted a counter after Harry Swabey had been denied a lob attempt by the tall keeper and a follow up that went over the Cricklade bar.
Full back Lee Hedges had sprinted down the right wing and his accurate pass was turned into a comfortable equaliser by Jack Allen.
Immediately Finches retaliated and Harry Swabey ran on to a useful ball for a basic tap in after 16 minutes had been played.
Adam O’Bree then led a series of raids deep into Finch territory which gave Neil Griffih earn his corn with some essential saves.
With half time looming, Cricklade equalised at 2-2, in the 43rd minute, courtesy of Jack Allen combining with Ben Carter but Nick Cooper scored just before the whistle blew giving Finches a 3-2 lead.
Having played a first-half which was not the best of the lads capabilities, Finches began the second session with renewed vitality and soon put the visiting keeper into action.
Nick Cooper and Harry Swabey linked up but Ross saved from close range preventing Swabey from adding to the total. Richard Kell then managed to put the ball over the top.
Finches looked a much more cohesive unit in the second half and passes were linking more often than earlier in the game.
When Greg Alexander sent across a high ball from the right flank, it looked to be going beyond the assembled Finch attacking forwards and Cricklade defenders but Nick Cooper was at the back of the queue, totally unattended and he controlled the ball and banged it into the net adjacent to the near post.
Cricklade crept upfield occasionally but Harry Swabey put over a ball which pinged off at least two Cricklade defenders before crossing the goal line, bouncing off Alex Povey last, designated own goal.
Finches held out until the final whistle and go through to the next round of the Blue Fin Supplementary cup.
Nick Cooper bagged a laudable hat-trick and the Cricklade squad were disappointed at not having played at their best and Jon Laugharne was very pleased with the Finch performance as well as the result.
Finchampstead: Griffith,(G.K.) Wright, Allston, Ryan, Green, Barnard,(c), Cooper, Axton-Hall, Swabey, Alexander, Kell.
Substitutes: Manicom, Evans, Pople. Dunn.