Monmouthshire Windows East Gwent League

Gill Cup quarter final

Thornwell Red & White A 1 Caldicot Castle A 2 aet (1-1 after 90 minutes)

A GOAL in the first period of extra time clinched a semi-final place for Caldicot Castle and dealt a blow to their main rivals for silverware this season, writes Bob Cypher.

For the second successive Saturday, Thornwell had to suffer defeat by the odd goal to end a second cup run.

It might have been a different story if they had been able to convert the chances created but some heroic defending and not a little luck denied them.

Played in incessant rain, the game was never a classic but always interesting

Castle edged the first 10 minutes, Richard Lund going close on a couple of occasions, but it was Thornwell who took the lead with another goal from Andrew Skuse who leapt to meet a Terry Woodward corner from the right and headed the ball just inside the near post.

The goal stunned Castle but they kept at it, carving out their own chances although they never really troubled home keeper Liam Parker.

But when the equaliser came, it stunned the home support, although Castle's player-manager Joe O'Brien admitted it was a lucky goal.

Tim Battersby crossed from the left, Craig McCluskey headed it on and Rick Woodland nodded it past Parker.

With extra time looming, both teams made great efforts to seal the win in 90 minutes but too often the pitch, now a muddy field, played an important part.

The winner, scored by O'Brien, on as a sub, was the result of a clever piece of quick-thinking by Lund.

As Joe Shaw-Jones put the ball through from midfield, Lund realised he was offside so let the ball run past him for O'Brien to sprint clear and shoot across Parker as he came out to narrow the angle.

Later, O'Brien admitted Skuse's goal had rocked Castle back on their heels.

"It really took the wind out of our sails and we didn't really put that right until the second half," he said.

"We had more of the ball in the first 20 minutes and didn't look like we would concede a second but then we were forced into making three substitutions so we changed formation and levelled with a lucky goal.

"Joe Shaw-Jones was our man of the match again for his all-round work

"We held out as Thornwell pressed and we are pushing on three fronts, two cups and the league."

Thornwell's Terry Woodward said the team was disappointed, especially as they enjoyed long periods of supremacy.

"We would have won it if we had taken our chances," he said.

"Castle's keeper was a lot busier than Liam Parker who only had to make a couple of saves.

"Skuse's goal was a great header but our finishing needs to be better and because it wasn't it's cost us in the last two games."