Gary Norman President’s Cup Semi-Finals
Holders Headstone Athletic are through to a fifth appearance in six seasons in the President’s Cup final after coming through an epic last-four encounter with Reed Rangers 4-2 on penalties. The two sides couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes having shared eight goals between them.
It was Headstone who drew first blood when Shiva Kurup put them ahead after seven minutes, but straight from the restart a swift Reed move allowed Karl Penny to equalise.
A minute later Dominic David latched on to a long ball to race through and put Reed ahead, but in keeping with the fast and furious nature of the game Headstone were level again three minutes later when Kurup scored his second, touching home after a long throw-in caused confusion in the Rangers defence.
Reed were reduced to ten men after 25 minutes when Sean Plant was sent off for comments made to the referee, but being a man down didn’t seem to bother Rangers who had the better of the rest of the first half.
Three minutes into the second half Adam Crassweller put Reed ahead following a corner, only for Headstone to also having a man sent off five minutes later when Marc Gibbs saw red following a clash with Reed manager Stephen Lawrence, who was also sent away from the touchline.
Five minutes after the sending off, Headstone pulled level at 3-3 when Dan Page rounded Adrian Delaporte in the Reed goal to tap home.
Reed again had the better of the chances, with David missing a glorious one-on-one opportunity to win the game with three minutes left, but he could only shoot straight into the body of Chris Calaby.
In the first period of extra-time a dreadful defensive error allowed David to redeem himself when he scored to put Reed back ahead for the third time. But it was not enough to win the game when following a tactical move by Headstone boss Eric Shields in taking off a centre-back and pushing four players up front, Harry Healey scored with eight minutes left in extra-time to force a penalty shoot-out.
Headstone's Anthony Ball saw his first effort saved, but two misses by David Baxter and Lucas Gibbons allowed Healey to score the winning penalty, as Reed suffered defeat at this stage for the second straight season on penalties.
The afternoon match was a much more straightforward affair as Old Danes Athletic booked a second cup final appearance this season with a 4-0 win over Headstone Lions.
The match was effectively over by half-time as Old Danes scored three times in the first period thanks to goals from Nick Wilson, a penalty from Joel Foskett and Chris White. Colin Spooner added a fourth in the second half.
Kings Langley produced a shock result as they won one of the two double-header games against Evergreen Olympians 4-3.
Chris Wells scored twice and Dan Campbell once but that was not enough to beat struggling Langley.
The other game saw Evergreen win 3-1 with Campbell scoring a brace and the other effort came from Danny Jones.
Hertfordshire Lions have a three-point lead at the top of the table after a narrow 2-1 win over lowly WD Athletic.
Richard Batson and Sam Craft found the net for Lions with Danny Hall replying.
Meriden Ballers enjoyed a good morning, taking six points from both games with Woodlands United, 4-2 and 1-0.
Floyd Tate and Steve Cook scored for Woodlands in the opening match, together with Daps Joshua and Chris Melsome. United responded through Jamie Seabrook and an own goal.
Dave Smith scored the only goal in the second game.
The other double header saw FC Revolution win both games against Dynamo Croxley, 2-1 and 1-0.
Karl McCormick got the Croxley goal with Adam Rawlings and own goal giving Revolution victory in the first encounter.
The second game saw Rawlings score his second of the morning to give Revolution six points.
Cassiobury Revolution battled through to beat Watford Labour Club 4-3.
Revolution had taken a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to an own goal, Rob Dilkes and a goal direct from a corner by Andrew Owusu.
Labour hit back thanks to a Paul Collett double and one from Charles Linsley, but the winner came late on from Dilkes with his second of the game.
Roundbush gained only a second point of the season after a 2-2 draw with Inter.
Lawrence Brown and Dan Kenna put Inter two ahead but Bush fought back for the point thanks to efforts from Blaise Shevrington and Russell Lavalette.