The League match between these two sides was a irritable affair earlier in the season.
Town had a man sent off and Moors walked off with the three points. There was, therefore a deal of expectation at kick off time, increased by a large crowd, for this Challenge Vase semi-final.
Town pressed right from the first whistle. They crowded their visitors and bullied them in the tackle. Moors were unable to get their passing game going and were penned in their own half, indeed their own Penalty Area. It was little surprise when Town took an early lead, albeit with a degree of luck. Town were awarded a free kick some twenty yards from goal and left of centre, Priest’s kick hit the wall and was returned into Moors’ Area. What happened next had an amount of uncertainty. Did Jack Forrest drop the ball? Was he fouled? Was the Town player off-side? Referee Gudger was clear. The ‘Keeper dropped the ball and it was stabbed home.
Even before this, Forrest had to palm a fierce shot over his bar for a corner. Town’s appeals for a Penalty were themselves “over the top” as half a dozen players surrounded the Referee. This was to be a pattern of the game. Every tackle was fiercely challenged by Town, every throw appealed for, at every chest-down hand ball was demanded. Referee Gudger was unmoved.
For most of the first half Moors Academy were on the ropes, and one feared that the flood gates might open. However, gradually the Young Moors gained the upper-hand to the extent that the final fifteen minutes of the half were all Moors. After some excellent mid-field play Moors managed to exert pressure on their hosts. With ten minutes of the half remaining, Okoro beat the ‘Keeper from six yards after really good play through the Moors mid-field. It was the Moors first shot on target, and meant the sides turned round one goal each.
The second half was a totally different matter. It was all Moors, Town unable to master the Moors slick passing and fierce speed.
Eventually Mr Gudger tired of the home side’s constant moaning at him and booked three for back-chat, one for deliberate hand ball and another for a nasty challenge on Kyle Andrews.
As we neared the close, Moors withdrew the excellent Okoro in favour of Siatous’ speed. He ran the Town defence ragged, but somehow the goal just would not come. Josh Parsons had the best strike, from twelve yards, but it went like a bolt an inch past the far post.
Instead of continuing to use Siatous’ speed, for some reason Moors reverted to passing through mid-field. This allowed the visibly tiring Town side to arrange their defence at leisure. It was a tactic that was to prove fatal. Late in the game with four minutes left, Town won a corner which resulted in a real goal-mouth scramble, and they were able to stab the ball home for the winner. It was a bitter blow for the Moors; they had outplayed their opponents’ for the second half at least. Yet you do not win if the opposition score more goals they you. Town are in the final and the Moors can only congratulate them.
Manager Sam Manoochehri said, “We are disappointed. All the goals had an element of luck about them. We had a poor start, but played far better in the second half. In the end we ought not to have been in your own area with four minutes to go.”
Moors Academy: Forrest; McNally; Hirst; Willock; Taylor ©; Bennett; Mullally; Andrews; Okoro  (Siatous); Coyle; Parsons. Subs not used: Medford; Clarke; Hansard; Nitiri.
MAFC next fixtures:
Wed 12th April KO 7:45pm at home v Northfield Town MFL Div 3
Sat 15th April KO 3pm at home v Barton Utd MFL Div 3
Mon 17th April KO 3pm away at FC Stratford MFL Div 3
Sat 22nd April KO 3pm home to Montpellier MFL Div 3
Sat 29th April KO 3pm away to Coventrians MFL Div 3
Mon 1st May KO 3pm away to NKF Burbage MFL Div 3