Sports’ cup exit despite Sharratt’s heroics
8:02am Thursday 12th December 2013 in Sport
CPD PORTHMADOG 2
SULLY SPORTS 1
THE lowest ranked team left in the competition, Sully Sports bowed out of the Welsh Cup on Saturday when their North Wales opponents clinched a last 16 place with an added time goal.
Inspired goalkeeping by Kieron Sharratt, who pulled off a series of outstanding saves, kept the local South Wales Senior Soccer League side in contention in the first half of the third round clash but, having lifted their game several notches in the second period and levelled the scores six minutes from the end, Sports were only seconds away from forcing the tie into extra-time when Port skipper Neil Thomas headed his side into the next round.
The home side were pushed back from the off as Sully started strongly and, in the first minute, a rash tackle from Port's Josh Stadnicki brought a yellow card. But it did not take long for Port to settle and dominate the first half, creating plenty of excellent scoring opportunities and leaving Jamie Hulse a virtual spectator in the home goal. Carl Owen had an early opportunity for a shot on goal and Josh Banks fired one in from 25 yards, but Sharratt dealt comfortably with both. After Sharratt pushed a Carl Owen header away for a corner, Sully were made to pay for concedding a free kick in a dangerous position when, on 18 minutes, Carl Owen curled a brilliant kick just inside the post to give the home side a deserved lead. Minutes later Carl Owen turned provider and Thomas was in on goal but his angled shot drew another excellent save from Sharratt. After 27 minutes a superb Eilir Edwards through ball put John Owen in on a one on one with the ‘keeper but Sharratt was quickly out to pull off another excellent stop. Just past the half hour mark, Stadnicki met Edwards’ corner with a goalbound header but Sharratt kept it out with a fantastic piece of agility. Indeed, the home side’s chances continued and Sharratt kept pulling off outstanding saves.
With half-time looming, Rhys Roberts netted following a corner, only to be ruled offside, and Sharratt shone again as he denied Carl Owen.
Amid all this home pressure, Sully rarely threatened, with McInery’s shot from the edge of the box the only shot on target.
Thanks to Sharratt’s goalkeeping heroics, Sully were still very much in the game and, in the second half, it soon became clear that, having survived virtually unscathed from the first-half pressure, they were eager to take advantage. A long-range shot from Lawlor was not too far off target and, when Daniel James lifted a free kick forward, McInery’s powerful header was, unfortunately, straight at the goalkeeper.
Though unable to apply the pressure of the first half, Port did have opportunities, but play was far more even and, in the 71st minute, Dilan Lomas needed all of his 6ft 3in height to head off the line following McInery’s corner.
Knowing they needed another goal to kill off their plucky visitors, a great run from Stadnicki provided John Owen with a shooting chance for Port, but he was again denied by a good save by the ‘keeper. Craig Papirnyk, who had an excellent controlling game in midfield, tried a blaster from 20 yards which felled the blocking defender and a good low cross from Leon Newell went unconverted.
Then the almost inevitable happened and, in the 84th minute, the determined play of the visitors paid off with an equaliser. Provided with an unlikely opportunity from a free kick 30 yards out, Alex Long hit his shot with power and it curled out of the reach of Hulse.
Now was a time for character and Thomas’s determination shone through in the closing stages and it was right that his fine header - meeting Edwards’ quality cross – should prove to be too good, even for the inspired Sharratt .
A hard day at the office for Port was not unexpected in view of Sully’s excellent cup pedigree but to leave it so late was not good for the health of their supporters.
Sully Sports: Kieron Sharratt, Wesley Lamb, Lewis James, Edward Jones, Liam Beddard (Morgan Hopkins, 65) , Daniel James, Garon Davies (Aiden Lewis, 78), Daniel Lawlor, Gareth Hemmens (Mark Brown, 72), Alex Long and Connery McInery. Unused subs: Andrew Townsend and Jimmy Blackie. Yellow cards: Jones, Lawlor and Long. Referee: Steve Hughes; attendance, 123.