A stroll gone wrong, when not to pass and Pirlo nearly got throttled.

Capenhurst Villa 2-2 Maghull  Maghull win 4-3 on penalties

Wirral Senior Cup

Saturday 8th March 2013 kick off 2pm

Pushing on two years ago, I was told to get more involved in sports, again, after my dance with the devil. Yesterday, you very nearly had me meeting him again. Don't ever do that again, more on that later.

On a pitch, that had more in common with a harvest festival, than footballing activities, it stood out that Maghulls normal passing game, was going to have to take a day off.

In a nothing of a first half, where both defences held control, Maghull held the upper hand, albeit slightly. And even held the lead. Jay McGrane, having caused his marker early problems, eluded him from a corner. Beat a man, maybe two, played the ball to Colin McDonald who finished with aplomb.

It should really have been a case of settling nerves, a semi final away from home and put the game to bed as early as possible, against lower league opposition. But as that bloke SAF used to say, this team doesn't seem to like doing things the easy way.

Half chances where created, Colin McDonald disappointed (explained later as a left knee niggle) when a ball bouncing invitingly on the left side of the box, had smash me written all over it, brought it down and played it inside, only for it to be cleared.

Half time at 1-0 to Maghull seemed acceptable.

The hosts came out and totally changed the game. Maghull played into their hands, the big number 8 in midfield, won everything in the air, if it by-passed him, the centre backs took control. Clearances generally went direct down the middle and the big centre forward gave Chris Swords more of a challenge in the second half. But it was effective and Maghull struggled to cope with it. It was a long time in coming, but the deserved equaliser came with ten minutes to go. Lee Carrol saved an initial effort, the onrushing forward, seeing glory, slipped, but had the time to get up, play the ball back into the six yard box and it was tapped home.

Maghull had to play the same way, only down the flanks, but lost the plot and paid the price. Extra time was upon us.

I was told that fitness would tell in the extra period, I had my doubts, I was proved wrong. But not without a fright.

Capenhurst still had more heart and fight for the game, in the opening period, though Maghull had more of it territorially. Then shot themselves in the foot. A free kick 30 yards out, had Phil Stafford sending his centre backs forward, but a sloppy short free kick caused maximum chaos. The hosts won possession, broke clear and after saving a one on one earlier, Lee Carrols save was unfortunately pushed into the air this time and was headed into the empty net and Capenhurst sensed an unlikely win with massive celebrations. The end of the first fifteen game very soon after. Good for Maghull, not for the hosts.

Hearing the short, sharp, rebuff from boss Stafford at the turnaround, I would say I am glad he had no tea cups to hand. But was 100% correct. Though it was still looking grim, as Maghull found it hard to break down a resolute Capenhurst reargaurd, who still looked dangerous on the break.

With time running away, two minutes as it turned out, Colin McDonald produced a worldy. A pass down the right side, Colin turned and smashed one from the corner of the box into the far corner of the net. As Capenhurst lads said afterwards, where the hell did that come from ? He had no right to get a shot off, never mind score. We had penalties to deal with.

Forgive me for being pessimistic at this point, but Maghull have been pretty awful from the spot this season, but we do have Lee Carrol.

Capenhurst have first pen saved, then Micheal Boyle nearly killed me. He does his Pirlo trick, but the keeper did not go down. He could only push the ball up and it dropped behind him. It took the linesman to confirm it had crossed the line... I cannot repeat what I shouted to Micheal at this point.
Capenhurst scored, Danny Dillon scored, Capenhurst scored, Ryan Stamper had his saved, Capenhurst scored, John Hastings (who did a lovely nutmeg during the game) had his saved. That old adage of those who miss first go on to win (Billy Buck and I convinced about this) was looking like coming true. But we have Lee Carrol. He dived to his left to keep us in the shootout. But we still needed to score to take it to sudden death. Mick McGinn, who must be the non league Robbie Savage, got dogs abuse and massive verbals while walking up to take his kick. He slotted it away and walked back calmly, cupping his ear to the Capenhurst supporters.

Sudden death was short and sweet. The Capenhurst player hit a stinker, way over the bar, Paul Jackson drove his penalty home and the cup shock was no more.

There may be a few more games to come, on this type of pitch,against this type of opposition. Listen to the boss lads, the crisp passing game you know can destroy teams, is not always possible. Now let's give it a big shot at the night of 30th April, against West Kirby in the Final. Three massive games away from history.

The downside of the day, was the lead at the top of the table was cut to 20 points.

Next game : Christelton away Saturday 15th March Kick off 3pm

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