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First-half onslaught wins it for Sportsmans
12:54pm Monday 15th October 2012 in Football
DIVISION One champions Sportsmans FC moved into the quarter finals of the Frank Bainbridge Cup at Bluestone last Sunday, as a four-goal blast in 11 first half minutes proved too much for Tithe Bar.
Sportsmans came into the match unbeaten this season and fresh from success in the Sunday FA Cup the previous week, but Tithe, promoted from Division Two last season, had only lost once and were confident of causing an upset.
Both sides took time to settle and the opening quarter of an hour was instantly forgettable, but slowly the champions began to find their form. With Craig Toman, Alex Caisley and Aaron Ramsbottom dominating the midfield area, Sportsmans started to ask questions of the Tithe back line.
Defender Dave Taylor almost marked his Sporties debut with a goal inside 16 minutes, but he fired over from close range following a corner from Scott McNichol, before Tithe goalkeeper Stephen Pratt did well to keep out a powerful header from Col Anderson, again created by another McNichol set-piece.
But it was 1-0 in the 26th minute. Sporties goalkeeper Michael Corps threw the ball to James Coatsworth who sprinted down the right before crossing for Anderson to smash home from 12 yards.
That opened the floodgates and the tie was as good as over in the next 11 minutes as the champions scored a further three times. Ramsbottom made it 2-0 with a fine finish from 25 yards after good work from Stu Dunn down the left, before Anderson was brought down in the area by Shaun Lambert and referee Geoff Chapman pointed to the spot.
Tithe claimed the ball had already gone out of play in the build up but Chapman was not about to change his mind and McNichol calmly slotted past Pratt.
Toman then claimed the fourth, although his long range effort was heading for the corner flag until it took a wicked deflection off defender Chris Williams, giving Pratt no chance.
Tithe refused to let their heads drop, however, and they gave themselves a lifeline just before the break. A goal kick from Pratt was flicked on Dave Proud and Adam Bramley fed Daniel Waind, who capitalised on some hesitancy in the Sporties defence to beat Corps from ten yards.
That gave the visitors a lift and they began the second period on the offensive. Bramley, Waind and substitute Craig Chandler all tested Corps in the opening stages of the half as Tithe chased an unlikely comeback, but Sporties weathered the storm and finally ended the visitors challenge 20 minutes from time. A lovely move involving Toman, Caisley and Ramsbottom saw Coatsworth tap home to make it 5-1.
But Tithe had the final word with the goal of the game. With ten minutes remaining, Proud picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and thundered a shot past Corps that flew into the net via the underside of the crossbar. But it was no more than a consolation as Sportsmans marched on into the quater finals.