City v Ellesmere

This game went ahead seven days later than planned following the effects of Storm Erik last Saturday which caused the original fixture to be cancelled. The visitors made the long trip from Shropshire for the first time and it was a little ironic that the game was watched by a group of trainee referees, who witnessed a few contentious decisions during the 90 minutes. City were forced into a very late change as Peter Allison received a nasty facial blow in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Jamie Heath.

City were almost off to a flyer as Renyard’s cross-shot flew across the face of goal in the 1st minute, and then the same player rounded keeper Cowderoy but was unable to keep the ball in play. The visitors are struggling in their league but they looked lively throughout the game and Gregory-Cork went close with their first opportunity after 8 minutes, and it was proving to be a very competitive start to the game.

A 10th minute shot from Wells deflected for an away corner and this was punched away by Townsley, and then Wells saw his 20-yard free-kick saved by the City keeper.

City took the lead on 25 minutes as Renyard’s left-wing corner was headed in by McCartney, although Cowderoy looked as if he should possibly have saved it. The visitors were right back on the offensive and the lively Wells put over a dangerous cross, and then Briscoe was fouled by Simpson but City cleared the free-kick. Renyard went down under a heavy challenge from Olugbon but the free-kick led to nothing. Renyard’s shot then won another City corner, which dropped to Shiel but his effort was blocked.

At the other end, Townsley saved from Wells and City led 1-0 at the break.

After the break, Renyard was fouled not far outside the Ellesmere box, but Simpson’s free-kick was too high. Townsley was proving to be the busier keeper and he pushed one fierce shot away before watching Durman’s header fly wide. Shiel had a good opportunity in the 56th minute but his 15-yard shot was saved by Cowderoy.

On the hour, City were awarded a debatable penalty as McCartney went down in the area amidst what seemed negligible contact. City’s leading scorer stepped up to convert the kick for his 32nd goal of the season. City’s first change saw Armstrong replace Lucock.

In the 72nd minute, Ellesmere pulled a goal back as Townsley hesitated coming off his line, and Hunter’s header dropped into an empty net. Addison was booked following a strong tackle and then Udoh shot wide as the visitors sensed an equaliser. Another City booking went to Greenslade following another heavy challenge.

Wells fired a free-kick over the bar in one of the last chances for the visitors. This also proved to be Wells’ last action as he was sent off for abusive language to the referee. Another City yellow card went to Pearson.

City hung on to claim victory and move into the semi-final against Sandbach United.

TEAMS- CITY- Townsley, Heath, Pearson, Short, Greenslade, Addison, Renyard, Simpson, McCartney, Shiel, Lucock SUBS- Armstrong, Holmes, Blair, Allison, Graham

ELLESMERE- Cowderoy, Fletcher, Hunter, Ellis, Olugbon, Durman, Briscoe, Gregory-Cork, Udoh, Wells, Davies SUBS- Sandwith, Butcher

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