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22 May 2021

Bateman's Sports Division Two Cup - Semi Finals

Kintbury Rangers 1 Malvern Town Development 1
Kintbury go through to final 3-1 on penalties

Malvern Town Development team went out of the Batemans (President’s) Challenge Cup in unfortunate circumstances at the semi-final stage at the hands of Kintbury Rangers as we lost a penalty shoot-out.

We started the game on the back-foot and ‘keeper Loader came to the rescue with a smart save early on. We slowly got into the game and only last-ditch defending stopped us taking the lead. We then created three good chances in quick succession only for all to be cleared off the line. Then on 22 minutes, against the run of play, our hosts took the lead when a long kick from the home ‘keeper saw the ball allowed to bounce and it fell to their forward who clinically finished.

We came out the blocks well in the second half and created some good chances, but found the home ‘keeper in fine form. Jordan Hayward was causing all sorts of problems with his surging runs down the left and finally we found the net with five minutes remaining when Ben Febrey headed in from close range. It was to finish at 1-1 and so the tie went straight to a penalty shoot-out where the home ‘keeper saved three of our spot-kicks to help his team to a 3-1 success.

“Overall we were the better team on a bumpy pitch which didn't suit our game,” admitted manager, Peter Daffin. “I couldn't have asked any more from the players, who only played in the previous round on Wednesday evening then had to face a long journey today. They did the club proud; there were good performances all over the pitch with Hayward in particular outstanding. It was also good to see two of our U18's play in Elliot Flint and Charlie Spain who both did well and can be pleased with their contribution."

“We wish Kintbury Rangers all the best in the Final. Rich and I would like to thank all of the players for their efforts over what has been a stop-start season.”

Flackwell Heath Development 5 Letcombe 1

There are times when you have to hold your hands up and say that you were beaten by a better side on the day, and this was one of those occasions. Letcombe`s success in this competition has been built around a solid defence, but on this occasion the usually compact back four were found wanting at times. Whether this was because Letcombe were missing centre back Nathan Haresnape or whether it was due to the lively Flackwell Heath attack is difficult to say, but it was probably a combination of the two.

The visitors dominated the early exchanges and looked dangerous from long throws. They took the lead after 18 minutes with a quick break on the left, and the low cross was turned
into the net by Brad Wasdale. Letcombe equalised soon afterwards when a cross from Chad Abrams found Luke Polding at the far post, and his low shot went just inside the upright. The visitors regained the lead almost immediately when poor defending allowed Conor Kelly to score, and hesitancy in the home defence presented Wasdale with a tap-in just before the break. Referee Michael Cofie waved away Letcombe appeals for a penalty as Ben Hummell appeared to be pushed in the back in the last minute of the half.

The early stages of the second half were fairly even with neither side creating any clear chances, but Flackwell Heath scored a fourth with twelve minutes remaining. Wasdale chased a through ball and did well to hold off the challenge from a defender before scoring from a narrow angle. They added a fifth three minutes later, Lewis Draper driving the ball into the top corner from 25 yards giving home keeper Danny Joyce no chance.

Our congratulations to Flackwell Heath on a deserved victory and we wish them luck in the final. From a Letcombe viewpoint, it was a disappointing end to the season, but they did well to reach the last four from forty teams who entered the competition. Letcombe hope that all the squad will remain loyal and join us again next season, and I know that the management team will be looking to strengthen the side if possible.