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Defensive errors gift Petersfield League Cup final place
Petersfield Town 3 Whitchurch United 2.
Wessex League Cup semi-final.
Two Petersfield goals in the last ten minutes robbed Whitchurch United of their first ever League Cup final place at Alresford Town’s ground on Tuesday night.
It was heartbreaking for the Jam Boys although in truth they were often on the back foot and the First Division side deserved their place in the final against either Alresford Town or Sholing.
Jim Macey’s side could have been behind inside two minutes as leading scorer Robbie Tambling just failed to convert after the impressive Mike Asare had set him up then Shane Lock was wide with a long range effort at the other end.
On what was an excellent pitch both teams played some fine football at times but it was against the run of play that Luke Walker gave ‘Church the lead on the half hour when his pace and control took him from the half way line and has sweet strike beat Matt Short with some to spare.
Directly from the restart Petersfield went at Whitchurch again and with what looked like a 4-3-3 formation stretched the defence and Asare almost set up Tambling again within 20 seconds but he was somehow crowded out.
The respite was shortlived as from a quick break on the right Tambling beat Alex Thompson to level at 1-1.
Whitchurch regrouped and with 18 minutes left substitute Tom Lockyer was involved as the ball was not cleared and Walker again lashed home a piledriver from 20 yards to put United back in front.
It was always going to be a rearguard action as freescoring Petersfield, including former Andover men Ben Buckland and Alex Ward and managed by former Lions assistant manager Ian Saunders, went at them but in the end it was a defensive error which gave them a way back in.
With ten minutes left the ball was given away on the edge of the area and the lightning quick Asare reacted first to make it all square again.
Whitchurch could have won the game soon after as Ali Brown’s header from a corner was deflected onto the post then Tambling brought a fabulous save out of Thompson but a minute into stappage time Buckland sent a long cross to the far post and Joe Richardson nodded home the winner to set off wild celebrations.
Manager Jim Macey was disapppointed with his side’s showing but praised Petersfield saying ‘they wanted it more than us’.
“We were poor and I told the players they let themselves and the club down to be honest” he added. “We always seem to freeze in the big games which frustrates me”.
Losing Isaac Sedu with an eye injury did not help the cause but Macey did not look for excuses. “Petersfield deserved to win as we didn’t get our passing game going and credit to Ian Saunders’ men as they played some good stuff.
Whitchurch are home to Hamworthy on Saturday then return to Alresford on Tuesday night to play Town in a league game and Macey expects to have cup-tied Nic Turpin and Matt Scott back in the squad.
On Thursday Whitchurch are home to Otterbourne in the Andover League Open Cup semi-final where the winners play Andover Town in the final.