NPLFA CUP ROUND OF 16 - REVIEW
An exciting first round of the NPLFA Cup is in the bag and some teams cup hopes are still intact after a lively week of round of 16 games. There was no shortage excitement with nearly 40 goals being scored across the six fixtures played and all the usual cup drama.
Mickleover Sports (Red) continue to impress after a 7-0 win against Brighouse Town, with Jack Thatcher and Rashaan Taylor-Anderson both scoring a brace. Mickleover sit at the top of the JOMA Division table and also book their place in the quarter-final of the NPLFA Cup. Carlton Town join Mickleover Sports (Red) in the first quarter-final after a late Jared Green later winner helped them beat Belper Town (Yellow) 1-2 away from home.
Belper did have some joy in the first round of the cup as their Sports Traider side, Belper Town (Black) beat Witton Albion 3-4. In an exciting, end to end game, Witton’s Oliver McDonough scored a hat-trick, but it wasn’t enough to propel his side into the quarter final as the visitors came out on top. Belper Town (Black) will play the winner of Leek Town and Ossett United, who’s postponed game will be re-arranged for the near future.
In a repeat of the opening Sports Traider Division fixture of the season, Radcliffe (Black) hosted Widnes. The visitors were in high spirits after sitting pretty at the top of the Sports Traider Division and coming off the back of having two players nominated for the Sports Traider Player of the Month. This showed as Widnes completed a convincing 2-6 victory to go through to quarter finals of the NPLFA Cup. Skelmersdale United will face Widnes in the quarter finals, sparking another Sports Traider Division and North West rivalry. Skelmersdale beat Radcliffe at home on penalties as the sides couldn’t be separated after drawing 3-3. ‘Sports Traider Player of the Month’ Danny Feeley capped off a brilliant week by scoring his sides opening goal and converting a penalty during the shootout.
in the final game of the round of 16 NPLFA Cup fixtures, Runcorn Linnets made an emphatic statement by handing Stafford Rangers their first loss of the season thanks to a hat-trick from Ross Avies and an Aiden Brown double. Oliver Jarvis score a brace to give the visitors a fighting chance, but Runcorn ran out the eventual 5-3 winners. Runcorn will face the winner of Mossley and Mickleover Sports (Black), who’s postponed game will be re-arranged for the near future.
The first round of 16 in the NPLFA Cup provided the perfect opportunity for players to step up and announce themselves into the fold of selection for the #TeamOfTheWeek. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated by their coaches and selected in the #TeamOfTheWeek and a massive well done to Carlton Town defender, Lewis Erasmus, who was named ‘Player of the Week’ for his performance in the Round of 16 NPLFA Cup fixtures.
An action packed week of fixtures and some inter-divisional match-ups makes for a brilliant highlights show. Watch all the goals, match-highlights and the magic of the cup below.
This week’s edition of the Game Review of the Week comes from an inter-divisional match-up between Sports Traider Division side, Skelmersdale United and JOMA Division side, Radcliffe.
SKEM COME FROM BEHIND TO DRAW THE GAME AND PROGRESS ON PENALTIES
The first round of 16 in the NPLFA Cup is in the bag and what a week of excitement it was. The pick of the game from Skelmersdale United, who hosted Radcliffe (Blue). Skem are flying high, sitting in second place in the Sports Traider Division whereas Radcliffe will look to kick start their season with a win, having played just two league games so far.
The away side who started the game well, with recent first-team debutant Rhys Moseley involved in the action straight away. He picked the ball up inside the area towards the right hand side and ran at the defence but his left-footed snapshot was well wide.
Skelmersdale United had an early chance of their own. A brilliant through ball by X was chased down by X who tried a cheeky dink over the keeper who rushed out to close down the angle. Fortunately for Radcliffe, the shot went wide.
Radcliffe made their early pressure count on the 21-minute mark and it was Rhys Moseley who put them in front after a rare defensive mix up from Skelmersdale United. A long, hopeful ball over the top from Radcliffe bounced awkwardly and wasn’t dealt with by the Skem centre back pairing. Moseley seized upon the loose ball, calmly rounded the keeper and stroked the ball into the empty net. Skelmersdale United 0-1 Radcliffe.
The visitors doubled their lead just two minutes later and took the upper hand in the game early on. A free kick from the left-hand side of the box was crashed into the post by Jake Cubbins. The ball was partially cleared but put back into the danger area by Radcliffe. It had kindly fallen to Curtis Turnock who cut the ball back to Cubbins. He unleashed a powerful shot towards the near post which was too hot to handle for the Skem keeper. Skelmersdale United 0-2 Radcliffe.
Skelmersdale cut the deficit in half just before half time thanks to Sports Traider Division Player of the Month, Danny Feeley. A free kick from near the halfway line was clipped into the Radcliffe box. Feely was first to the ball and cushioned his header into the far post. Skelmersdale United 1-2 Radcliffe.
HALF TIME: Skelmersdale United 1-2 Radcliffe.
The second half began very similar to the first, with Radcliffe appearing to be a lot quicker out of the blocks than Skem. Moseley again showed his quality and gave the away side another two goal cushion less than five minutes after the restart. After picking the ball up on the right-hand side of the box he ran at the Skelmersdale defence and appeared to waltz in unchallenged. He got a left footed shot off that nestled into the bottom right hand corner. Skelmersdale United 1-3 Radcliffe.
The third Radcliffe goal seemed to give Skem the wakeup call they needed and just two minutes after conceding, they pinched one back. Some good link up play on the edge of the box between Josh Niblock and Gerrard Traynor unlocked the Radcliffe defence and Niblock was in on goal. He made no mistake and slotted home his effort into the bottom left corner and dragged his team back into the game. Skelmersdale United 2-3 Radcliffe.
The home sides second goal really set the tie a light and an exciting period of play commenced, with neither side letting the other settle on the ball and become comfortable in the game.
Radcliffe will be disappointed to concede from another set piece, allowing Skelmersdale back into the game on 78 minutes. A corner from the left hand side was brilliantly whipped in towards the back-post and Michael Grundy, arriving late, thumped his header into the back of the net. Skelmersdale United 3-3 Radcliffe.
In a brilliant end-to-end game, both sides had a late chance to win the game and propel themselves into the quarterfinal of the NPLFA Cup. First, Gerrard Traynor could’ve won it for Skem after he cut in from the left flank and got at the Radcliffe defence. He breezed past one defender and the goal was gaping in front of him but he blasted his shot high and wide.
Radcliffe then went down the other end and could have won it for themselves. Moseley found some space inside the Skem penalty area as he peeled away to the right hand side. He fizzed a low cross in towards the front post which was nearly bundled in by Jake Cubbins with the last kick of regulation time. Skelmersdale United 3-3 Radcliffe.
With both sides battling all game and a terrific comeback from Skelmersdale United who at one point trailed 3-1, neither of the sides could be separated and penalties would be the decider.
Radcliffe took the first penalty of the shootout, with substitute Aiden Tusten stepping up first for the visitors. Despite his confident approach, he was denied by Skem keeper David Meadow, who’s diving save to his left kept out the first penalty. Skelmersdale United 0-0 Radcliffe.
Up stepped Skelersdale’s Danny Feely. Filled with confidence after being named Sports Traider Division Player of the Month, the centre back made no mistake and placed his penalty into the bottom left corner. Skelmersdale United 1-0 Radcliffe.
Next to take for Radcliffe was another second half substitute, Adam Morris. He tried to go for a powerful spot-kick straight down the middle but Meadow didn’t move in the Skem goal and made a comfortable save. Skelmersdale United 1-0 Radcliffe.
Skem were in the driving seat of the shootout Ashley Langley converted his sides second penalty. Skelmersdale United 2-0 Radcliffe.
Radcliffe’s Jake Cubbins managed to net the visitors first penalty of the shootout with a well-placed effort into the bottom left corner. Skelmersdale United 2-1 Radcliffe.
Next up for in the shootout for Skem was Gerrard Taylor who put his effort straight into the arms of Joey Oldham in the Radcliffe net. Skelmersdale United 2-1 Radcliffe.
Radcliffe now had a glimpse of hope in the shootout and could put the pressure on Skelmersdale with a converted penalty. Unfortunately for Scott Johnson and Radcliffe it wasn’t meant to be as he skied his penalty over the bar. Skelmersdale United 2-1 Radcliffe.
The home-side just needed to score from the spot to complete a brilliant comeback in the NPLFA Cup. Nathan Carnell was the man to take the long, intimidating walk to the penalty spot but was able to hold his nerve and convert. Skelmersdale United 3-1 Radcliffe.
FULL TIME: SKELMERSDALE UNITED 3-3 RADCLIFFE*
*Skelmersdale United win 3-1 on penalties.