Chopbacks celebrate as they make it through to challenge cup final

Coopers Construction Challenge Cup
Semi Final

South Coast Athletico 5

Hampden Park 1

Fresh from their quarter final victory over Robertsbridge second team, South Coast Athletico took on high flying division five team Hampden Park and it was the away side that showed why they look set for a spot in division four next season.

Short sharp passing through the Chopbacks brought numerous free kicks around the edge of the area but goalkeeper Ben Tate was more than a match for everything thrown at him.

With that early wake up call the Chopbacks tightened things up and when Charley Adams launched himself into two hefty challenges within seconds of each other, the opposition knew they’d awoken the bear and were in for a long day.

Connor Easton opened the scoring with a curling 20 yard strike which hit the top right corner after some excellent build-up play. Hampden Park tried to reply quickly but were shut down by a stubborn South Coast defence led by centre half general Dayle McGurk who’d placed Hampden’s veteran striker so deep in his pocket it would take a rescue team to get him out.

As the half went on the Chopbacks grabbed a second through Ryan Wright who’d now scored in his last three games before Jack Bloomfield added goal number three for the game and goal six to his tally for the competition.

Before the referee could blow his whistle for the half, South Coast added number four and pretty much sealed a final spot through recent signing Brad Owens.

The Second half started in the same way as the first as Hampden Park tried to grab an early goal back but South Coast’s midfield were having none of it. Captain Lee Finnigan, occupying a new defensive role was there to snuffle out any sort of idea of attack and launch the Chopbacks back down the other end. It looked as if South Coast were playing with more than 11 men as every time a Hampden Park player received the ball he was forced back by a red and black shirt.

Bloomfield was set free down the right early in the second half and he happily slotted home goal five and his seventh in the cup.

Manager Neil Sutcliffe began to make changes as Luke Darvill came on for Owens as the deck was shuffled and he almost had an immediate impact forcing the ‘keeper into a great save from a header.

Hampden Park were awarded a penalty but the tall foreboding figure of Ben Tate put the striker off and the ball sailed over the crossbar reminiscent of Chris Waddle in Italia ’90.

Harry Jackson came on to replace Mike Hawley and was straight into the action after taking a challenge from behind from the opposition, he returned the favour in typical Roy Keane fashion sending the opposition player into the air with a firm and solid tackle.

Ryan Fuller replaced Easton and with his usual enthusiastic chasing forced mistakes from the Hampden fullback but unfortunately, nothing the Chopbacks could pounce on.

The Chopbacks couldn’t keep a clean sheet and Hampden park squeezed in a consolation goal minutes from the end. A 5-1 win and back to back fixtures against Orington in the league and cup to come, the Chopbacks have every opportunity to ruin Orington’s season.

Man of the Match was Lee Finnigan.

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