Fourth time lucky for reserves cup joy

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Stoneclough Reserves 1 Hurst Green Reserves 3

Hurst Green Reserves travelled to North Manchester to play this three time postponed Houston Cup game.

The team showed three changes from last week’s excellent win over Garstang with Joyce, Rawcliffe and Mort all earning recalls.

On a very heavy pitch Hurst Green dominated throughout, but were guilty of missing a host of very good chances and also found the home team goalkeeper in inspired form.

A trade mark Foley strike had hit the underside of the bar, Mort twice and Darnell were both denied by the keeper before The Green took the lead on 15 minutes when Darnell followed up to score after the keeper had saved from Mort.

The visitors doubled the lead after 30 mins when skipper Alex Young headed home from a Foley corner.

With the hosts rarely troubling the visitors defence,in which the elegant Rawcliffe and classy Bolton impressed.

The game should have been well and truly over by half time.

However, within 30 seconds of the restart Stoneclough had halved the deficit with a smart finish from Pilling that beat Joyce in the visitor’s goal.

Hurst Green replied immediately through Mort who scored with a low left foot drive.

The visitors continued to dominate for the remainder of the match but were unable to beat the inspired Stoneclough keeper who made a succession of saves from Mort, Darnell and substitutes Whittaker and Ballanca. FT 1-3.

This victory earns the locals a home tie against Lytham Town Reserves in the next round of the competition on Saturday, March 7.

Post match, manager Stephen Young commented “Every credit to the lads for a performance full of endeavour, spirit and no little skill on a very difficult surface. We can go into this week’s game at Coppull United full of confidence.”