Fishwick Cup quarter final

Sudbrook CC A 4 Chepstow Athletic 1

TWO second half goals by Stuart Cochrane earned Sudbrook A’s place in the semi-finals, writes Bob Cypher.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, Cochrane scored his first from the spot and, a few minutes later, he rose highest at the far post to head the second.

Further strikes by Kevin McSweeney and Jamie Davies put the icing on the cake.

Sudbrook started well and might have clinched victory in the first half had it not been for a spirited Athletic defence, well-marshalled by Pete Moffatt, and backed up by some brave goal-keeping by Luke Branson.

The Mill Lane pitch, urgently in need of a cut, was bobbly so both Branson and his counterpart Sam Atkins were restricted to the long ball approach as the depth of the grass ruled out any chance of keeping the ball on the deck.

As usual, Rob Thorn was the main threat, playing on the shoulder of the last defender and operating on both flanks.

Sudbrook were without Richard Lund through injury but there was a constant stream of crosses for Cochrane and Steve Phillips to test their heading skills.

Despite having the lion’s share of possession, they fell behind when a free-kick into their penalty area led to a goalmouth scramble before Taraol Morris bundled the ball over the line from close range.

Playing up the slope in the second half, Sudbrook again threatened and, as Athletic’s player-manager Jake Parkinson attempted to clear a goal-bound shot, the ball struck his arm and the referee pointed to the spot.

Cochrane put his penalty inside the left post away from Branson’s desperate dive.

Parkinson switched keepers handing the number 10 shirt to the versatile Branson.

“Luke can play almost anywhere and after their equaliser I felt he would be better in the number 10 role,” Parkinson explained later.

“We needed him to break up their midfield play and make some chances for our strikers.

“Unfortunately it didn’t work but we have lost a few regular players and were up against it from the start.”

Sudbrook boss Gary Vaughan was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We gave away a goal when our keeper spilled a free kick but we could - and should - have cleared it,” he said.

“But Sam (Atkins) redeemed himself in the second half, making some good saves when Athletic were trying to equalise.

“The keeper is the last line of defence and when he makes an error it nearly always results in conceding a goal, but if a player loses the ball on the field, the outcome isn’t always important.

“We are looking forward to the semi-final draw.”