The first of the much-anticipated Vets Cheshire Cup quarter-finals unfolded over the weekend at the brand-new state-of-the-art Shaftsbury astro pitch.
On Friday night the clash between Mersey Royal Vets and Capenhurst Villa Vets took centre stage. The teams have met twice already this season with Capenhurst defeating Royal in the Doug Jonson first round and Royal gaining revenge in a recent league game the stage was set.
Cameron Forster’s close-range effort from a corner gave Capenhurst the lead early in the first half, but it was not until the second half that the game came to life. Royal growing frustrated were reduced to ten men, and their task grew more difficult.
This seemed to kick start Royal as first a clever finish from Chris Hesketh drew them level and then a 25-yard free kick from Andy Robinson saw Royal take the lead.
Capenhurst, however, eventually made the extra man count and drew level late on when Mark Reed netted at the second time of asking.
In an exhilarating ending, both teams went all out for the win and despite some gilt-edged chances going begging, the game went to penalties where Mersey Royal kept their cool to win 6-5.
On Saturday, Queens Park Vets hosted Hooton Vets at the same venue, delivering another gripping encounter. After half an hour JP Stanhope brilliantly broke the deadlock for Hooton when he struck a 20-yard effort into the top corner.
Queens battled but could not find the equalizer and 15 minutes into the second half Dave Rudge extended Hooton’s lead with a fine lobbed effort from 35 yards.
However, a Nick Scholes 30-yard deflected effort found its way into the top corner to make it a nervy ending for Hooton, as Queens exerted pressure on Hooton and despite both teams missing good chances. Hooton saw out the game to progress to the semi-final winning 2-1.
The other half of the quarter-finals take place this Saturday with two more eagerly awaited games as Higher Bebington Kelma Vets host Lache Vets at Higher Bebington astro (3pm kick off) and Parkfield Vets host Eastham Vets to be played at Central Park (2pm kick off).
Harley Bennion again displayed his goalscoring abilities, netting another fine hat-trick for Waggon & Horses as they saw off Chester Nomads 3rd. Ben Barratt contributed with a brace while Gary Roberts and Joe Houghton added singles to complete Waggon’s dominance. Jack Evans and Richard Birtwistle got Nomads’ consolation goals with the game ending 7-2 in favour of Waggon.
Prolific forward Lee Parry netted a fine treble and Joe Mongan and Aaron Lloyd got singles as FC Farndon moved up to second with a fine 5-3 win at Kelsall FC, who had Tom Hulme on target with a brace and Ben Palfreyman with a single.
Moreton FC’s recent resurgence continued as they defeated Christleton by the odd goal in three. Cal Evans and Dale Crawford did the damage for Moreton as Alan Bond netted Christleton’s consolation goal.
Not content with their first team banging in seven goals Waggon & Horses Reserves also netted seven of their own although they did concede one goal more as they beat Neston Nomads Reserves 7-3. The game was even until a crazy seven-minute spell when Waggon hit a shell-shocked Neston with six goals.
Ryan McCleary notched a hat-trick, Will Sandbach a double, and Ellis Moore and Ellis Cooke both got singles for Waggon as Archie Hughes, Lucas McKendry, and Max Donnally got Neston’s goals.
At the other end of the table, Sutton Rangers Reserves had Matt Broadhead on target with a double and Alex Lewis notching a single only for Orange Athletic to reply with singles from Iian Thomas, Arron Stockton, and Omari-Edwards Holmes, as both teams had to settle for a point.
Cestrain Alex had Ashley Reed, Will Kitchen, and Rich Tallis on target as they defeated Handbridge 3-0 in a result which sees Cestrain move within striking distance of third and second positions.
Roy Cardus was a hat-trick hero and Derek Nurse grabbed a single to see FC Farndon Vets move up to second with a 4-2 win against Tarvin Vets who had Max Astbury and Sean Taylor on target.
Shaftesbury Youth went crashing out of the Northern Cup away at Garswood FC. Finn Onwemene netted for Shaftes, but it was not enough as they lost 4-1.
Image: Saturday’s Vets Cheshire Cup Quarter-final tie between Queens Park (white) and Hooton Vets (yellow) which finished 2-1 to Hooton. Credit: Antonia Jolly