Cup semi-final round up

By David Evans

New winners of the Jack Busby Memorial trophy and Fred Ford cup guaranteed after dramatic semi finals

The weather didn't exactly hold off but the three remaining semi finals from the Jack Busby Memorial Trophy and Fred Ford Cup finally played out this week, with the rain kindly joining us for two of the three fixtures.

Jack Busby Semi Final

Fighting for the rights to play Milton under Wychwood Reserves in the final were current holders Hailey Reserves and Hanborough Reserves. Played on Tuesday night at Bourton, under a deluge of rain meant that it was difficult to get the ball down and play. No real chances in the opening half, whilst referee Bob Doolan dished out a couple of cards, the only chance came for Charlie Collins of Hanborough, who clipped the top of the bar. The second half played out the same way, under heavier rain (if that's possible). Luckily the Bourton pitch held up, but still neither side could find a breakthrough. As the clock ticked down, Hanborough's Connor Peacock nearly put the ball into his own net, but thankfully managed to clear his own crossbar from six yards out.
Then the standard commentators curse struck. As our resident twitter guru John Smyth posted that penalties were written all over the game, Ollie Jarvis fired a rocket into the top corner from 25 yards plus to start Hanborough celebrations and end Hailey's near three-year hold on the Jack Busby cup.

Jack Busby Final - Tuesday 9th April 2024

Milton under Wychwood Reserves vs Hanborough Reserves @ Carterton FC - 19:30 kick off

Fred Ford Semi Finals

Wednesday night at Carterton FC finally brought dry weather as Stonesfield and Aston looked for a place in the Fred Ford final. An abundance of experience was present between the match officals, whose combined age rounded off at 204!
The game started with Stonesfield going away from the clubhouse and unlike the game the night before, the deadlock was broken inside 15 minutes. Carry Rice bursting into the box to chase a loose ball, beat keeper Tomasz Mazur to it and was subsequently clattered in the process. He quickly dusted himself down and slid the ball into the bottom corner. Aston should have levelled through Joey Aust, but he took the ball too far past the keeper and could only send the ball into the side netting.
With half an hour gone, Stonesfield doubled their lead. Constant pressure outside the Aston box failed to create a clear chance until the ball fell to Harrison Connolly 25 yards out who thumped a snap shot past all the bodies in the box, and into the back of the Aston net. Challenges started to fly in, with Dave Stanley issuing a couple of cards but the half ended with Stonesfield still two ahead.
Aston knew they had to score the next goal to have any chance of getting back into the game and come the 52nd minute they did exactly that. James Fleming expertly split the Stonesfield defence to release Cairo Cuss who calmly slipped the ball past Sam Hibberd in the Stonesfield goal.
Cuss remained a constant threat but Stonesfield were eager to break on the counter. Mike Phipps sent his shot almost into the car park before the outstanding Nick Rose cleared the ball off the Aston line when Jacob Oliver looked destined to score. Eventually Oliver would decide the tie as with fifteen minutes left to go, he rode three challenges before rifling the ball into the far corner to score the goal of the game.
Stonefield saw out the remaining minutes without incident and marched into the Fred Ford final.

Thursday night at Moreton Rangers didn't stay dry like the night before but did see a penalty open the scoring again after fifteen minutes in the game between holders Enstone and Charlbury Town. Without a chance of note in the opening moments a clumsy challenge inside the box gave Nathan Bott the opportunity to open the scoring and he duly obliged to give Enstone the lead. Enstone stayed on top throughout the half, Nathan Kelly grazing the post after 25 minutes and Archie Bradbury having to save smartly from Kieran Watts on the brink of half-time. Charlbury's main outlet was Cian Fitzgerlad, however he only managed one chance as Enstone held firm.
Charlbury started the second half but Enstone picked up where they left off and missed two glorious chances to end the tie. First, Liam Harris robbed Archie Bradbury of possession on the edge of the box and looked destined to score, except he inexplicably chipped over with the goal at his mercy. The very next attack saw Shane Probitts beat the offside trap to get one on one with Bradbury, but it was the latter who won the battle to parry the ball away for a corner.
Then the turning point. Charlbury broke down the left and as the winger clipped the ball in, Cian Fitgerald had timed his run to perfection to jump and meet the ball and head home from 15 yards out to level the game after 64 minutes. By the 70th minute they were ahead. With Enstone dropping deeper, Tom Williams found space on the edge of the box, his low, difficult shot squirmed off the surface and as Danny Phillips parried the first attempt David Jenkins was quickest to react. Jenkins shot could only bobble onto the far post and across the line. Phillips dived for the scraps at the same time that Fitzgerald was sliding in and the Charlbury boot beat an Enstone glove, as Charlbury slid into the lead.
Fitgerald nearly completed his hat-trick five minutes later but blazed over. In the final five minutes it was all Enstone as corner after corner rained down on the Charlbury box. Charlbury dealt with everything and then in the final minute, Bradbury was quickest to clean up in the box and as he was clattered by Dan Newman, he received his marching orders for his second yellow.
The final whistle sounded soon after and it was the men in yellow who squeezed through to face Stonesfield

Fred Ford Cup Final - Wednesday 17th April 2024

Stonesfield vs Charlbury Town @ Carterton FC - 19:30 kick off

Where next?

Week 30 & 31 round up Hanborough Reserves are Jack Busby champions!
Week 29 Match Report Charlbury end Hook Norton’s title hopes as RAF Brize Norton move clear again

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