06:00PM, Wednesday 10 April 2019
There was plenty of drama on Tuesday night as old rivals Holyport and Burnham squared up to each other in an entertaining and dramatic Subsidiary Cup semi-final.
The Blues ultimately went through 3-2, but the game was nip-and-tuck throughout with Holyport seeing a late penalty saved which would have taken the game into extra-time.
First blood went to the Blues inside the opening 10 minutes when Lucas Sinclair fired home from 20-yards, but a mazy run and finish from Daniel Rapley levelled the scores up. The Blues restored their lead on the half-hour mark through Ollie Harris, albeit, in controversial circumstances after Port were harshly penalised for a back pass.
A slender lead at the break was further extended in the second half by Dean Allen from the spot, before Rapley set up a grandstand finish when he lobbed the keeper with 15 minutes left to play.
Holyport were then awarded a late penalty, but Rapley, who was on a hat-trick, saw his thumping effort saved as Burnham held on to advance to the final. In the final minutes Port were also reduced to 10 men when Lee Ovens was dismissed.
The Blues will face Malmesbury Victoria in the final after they beat Easington Sports 1-0 .
“I’m happy with the win,” said Burnham manager, Paul Shone. “We are in a cup final now and that’s what we set out to achieve at the beginning of the season.”
His opposite number Derek Sweetman added: “I’m chuffed to pieces with the boys. We got to the semi final of a cup, won some silverware at the beginning of the season and we still have a chance of the top four – so all in all it’s been a good season.”
Both managers were keen to switch focus to their respective league games on Saturday with Burnham set up wrap up the Hellenic League Division 1 East title if they're able to pick up at least a point against Chinnor at The Gore.
The champagne was left firmly on ice after last weekend's 1-0 defeat away to Didcot Town Development.
“We’d not lost two on the spin this season, and I said that to the boys before Tuesday,” said Shone.
“Last week was disappointing – we are used to winning football matches, so we were disappointed.
“They (Didcot) were a good side and they played good football.
“We didn’t play badly, we created a lot of half chances but we didn’t take them. They had one and they took it.
“We just have to take one game at a time. We play at home to Chinnor this weekend and that’s the game that we concentrate on.
“We just need one point to be league champions. They are bottom of the league, but the league table doesn’t mean anything. They’ll be coming here to upset us.
“Now it’s just about Saturday and then after that we look forward to the cup final.”
Holyport also have a big game as they travel to AFC Aldermaston knowing a win would keep their hopes of a top four finish alive.
“It’s a massive game for us this weekend,” added Sweetman
“We need to win to have any hope of finishing in the top three or four.
“They’ve only lost once in their last six or seven but we’ve only lost once in our last nine – so it should be a tight game and we will have to be at our best.”
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