County U18s suffer cup heartache for second time

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NORTHUMBERLAND Under-18s saw their cup hopes end at the semi-final stage in a close defeat to Cheshire.

Early pressure from Cheshire paid off when an attack down the left was aided by hesitation in defence, and two chances to clear were wasted, allowing a cross to be headed home by Elliott Goodwin at the far post.

Shortly afterwards, a 25-yard strike by Tom Corcoran swerved and dipped late to beat Mark Clark (Prudhoe) in the Northumberland goal.

Northumberland recovered and fought back with Sam Norris (Walbottle) beating England full back George Newton several times down the right, but on each occasion the final ball failed to find its mark.

The second half quickly lifted Northumberland spirits as skipper Liam McNamara (Walbottle) headed home from a corner.

Within minutes, a goal-bound effort was kicked off the Cheshire line and a possible penalty was denied when the goalkeeper appeared to bring down an attacker.

While still pressing with men committed to attack, a Northumberland throw-in level with the home penalty area was poorly executed and Cheshire broke to increase their lead.

Even then, chances to reduce the margin came and went, most notably when a free kick from the edge of the box was blasted through the defensive wall by Peter Ravenhill (St Thomas More), only to strike the surprised, but well positioned goalkeeper who parried it away.

The consolation came too late, in added time, when Ravenhill steered home a penalty.

So the competitive season came to a disappointing close with elimination from both ESFA (national) and Northern Counties competitions at the semi-final stage, two of only three defeats in this campaign.