Underwood 6 Thornwell Red and White 2nds 2
11:54am Tuesday 5th March 2013 in Sport
A DRY chilly Saturday afternoon saw the snappy Underwood outfit take on the buoyant Thornwell Red and White 2nds.
With both teams fielding a proportionate number of youth and veteran players the atmosphere before kick off was a mixture of raw enthusiasm and creaking optimism.
Thornwell opted to employ their strategic quarterback-style long-ball and were unlucky not to snatch the lead as they bounded like hungry spaniels onto some dodgy defending. But it was Thornwell's defence that leaked first, with a sharp run down the right allowing a good cross finished with a low angled shot that even wonderkeeper Jack Hopkins couldn't stop.
It was soon 2-0 to Underwood as they poured through gaps in Thornwell's midfield and swamped the under-seige defensive line of Ian Bubble-Jones, Mark Bullet Pope, Mark Warhorse and Anthony Viddler.
Underwood's own Joey Barton was determined to score and decided to shoot from every angle but it wasn't until the start of the second half that he finally got lucky and put the home side into cruise control. Or so it seemed, because at 3-0 down The Red and White suddenly found their form and with a couple of quick goals in succession from Paul Traski they clawed back into the game.
Good midfield link play between Paul Traski, Jack Stewart, Liam Parker and Steve Jones kept the battle flowing. Steve Harrison and Action Man kept the Underwood defence busy.
Stung into action Underworld switched on their high-tempo bagatelle ricochet rat-a-tat-tat passing game which sometimes gets lucky and without blinking Thornwell were suddenly staring at 6-2 as a scoreline despite Goalkeeper Hopkins saving many chances. Manager Gareth Jones had to shuffle his pack because of injuries and this saw the long-awaited return of crowd-pleaser Joel Viner. Leon Ivin ambled on to accompany Lawrie Murdin as Jones rotated his squad.
There was a comedy moment when after what appeared to be a clear goal, Referee Steve Keats, declared (since he was unsighted) a goal-kick due to the ball somehow ending up behind the net. Moral of the story to home-sides: buy some more pegs!
It was left to Paul Traski to hit a 30 yard pile-driver hat-trick strike into the roof of the net from an acute angle but it was the men of Underwood who march on into the semi-finals of the Ben Cup where Red and White wish them all the best.