Penkridge FC 2 Castlecroft Rangers 1 – Staffordshire Challenge Cup
It was always going to be a tough start to the season for the Crofters against a team that had scored 16 goals in its first two games of the season but the men in green conducted themselves admirably. This Staffordshire Cup tie saw two teams pitted against each other divided by a ‘whole-step’ and at least four divisions but this gulf in class was never really obvious during the course of the game.
The home team were certainly more attacking in the first half and the dangerous hitman Lees gave the Castlecroft defence much to think about. The visitors were rocked on 30mins when striker Tim Rowley collided with the Penkridge management team and then fell awkwardly in a knee injury that is likely to keep him out for much of the season. The Crofters remained stout and firm though and the first half ended 0-0.
The second half was much more open as the pace picked up. On 55min a free kick was poorly defended by Castlecroft and gave Lees a chance to notch again. As was often the case last season the goal kicked the Crofters into action and on 75 they were level again after a spell of pressure saw replacement Ansell hit a wonder strike past the Penkridge keeper.
With the game set for extra time the home team broke from a Crofters attack and left short handed following another injury to captain Hill the hosts were able to nick the win.
Final Comment: 3G two injuries- it may be coincidence but I am still yet to be convinced on the value of the artificial surface. The team really did themselves proud in a game that no one gave us a hope in. We certainly gave a team who have found it very easy up to know a good game and made them earn their place in the next round.