Athletic Sparkhill 4 Shirley Athletic 2 (aet)
Four mistakes, collective negativity and an air of complacency aided Sparkhill to brush past Shirley Athletic in the AFA Senior Cup semi final.
Mistake no.1 - Barry Morley was caught in possession, in Shirley’s own area, and was then promptly punished.
Shirley tried to get back into the game, but the final pass usually went astray. James Ince rounded the Sparkhill keeper, only for his effort to go over the bar. On a rare occasion of some football from Shirley, resulted in a great equaliser.
A move down the right, was eventually tee’d up for Matty Shaw to fire in from 18 yards. The second half didn’t get much better for Shirley - Mistake no.2 - Matty Shaw’s attempted quick free kick was intercepted, and the first time through ball caught Shirley’s defence unaware for Sparkhill to regain the lead.
Richard Learnihan was sent through, and he took the ball over the advancing keeper’s head, only to be fouled by the retreating defender - result - penalty, but no red card.
James Ince coolly dispatched it to send the game into extra time. Within five minutes the lack of taking responsibility was Shirley’s undoing again.
Mistake no. 3 - Sparkhill chipped the ball into the Shirley area, with the defence ball watching, enabling them to nip in, and finish accordingly.
Then the game was over, mistake no. 4 - A clearance by the Sparkhill defence was not dealt with allowing the Sparkhill forward to run half the length of the pitch and rounding keeper Chris Knott to send Sparkhill into the final.
Shirley play a resurgent Walsall Phoenix @ The Glades. Kick off 2.30pm