Leicestershire & Rutland FA Shield
AFC Croxton 2
Belgrave FC 2
(AFC Croxton won 4-2 aet)
PROUDLY sporting their new Bombay Brasserie-sponsored kit, AFC Croxton faced a fancied Belgrave FC in the first round of the competition.
It was Belgrave who finally broke the deadlock three minutes from the break when the unsighted referee adjudged Danny Walker to have handballed on the line as he threw himself in front of a close-range shot. Shane Brown handed the visitors an undeserved lead from the spot as the first half drew to a close.
At the restart, Croxton briefly sustained some intense pressure with Danny Wormall making point blank saves in goal before a Walker free kick was met by the head of Chris Bothamley to bring the game level.
A goal from Kirk Morgan on a quick break gave Belgrave the lead again as he was first to meet an isolated mistake in the Croxton goalmouth.
Croxton continued to threaten and keen to find another equaliser, Luke Ashworth and Tom Boyfield immediately took advantage of the arrival of Steve Bagwell’s fresh legs and he nearly turned supersub with two or three goals, including a well timed header which beat the offside trap but not the over zealous linesman and his flag.
The goal though finally came as Belgrave’s frustrations began to spill over and a defence-splitting ball from Ashworth was chased down by Samuel Lemes, who beat the keeper and slotted the ball calmly into the net to ultimately take the game to extra time.
With 30 minutes to play, Belgrave seemed content to take the game to penalties, but Croxton came out of the blocks with determination to win the match before the whistle.
Perhaps still fearful of the Michelson throws which had threatened them for 90 minutes, Belgrave might have been relieved to have conceded a corner instead, only for Mike Burkitt to find Boyfield’s head in a crowded 6yd box to bring the game to 3-2 and put Croxton in sight of the second round of the competition.
Game changing man-of-the-match Samuel Lemes rounded off a hard fought victory with just five minutes of the 120 to go when he latched on to a headed clearance from the Croxton backline in his own half and ran clean through the opposition defence, before comfortably slotting the ball into the net unchallenged.