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LOCAL SOCCER: Beverley secure cup semi-final place

Beverley Town 2 – 0 Hessle Rangers (Saturday February 10)

Town progressed into the semi-final of the East Riding Senior Cup for the first time in their history after a hard-fought win against Hessle Rangers at Longcroft.

Town started with a strong wind behind them and looked to make the most of it; however they were dealt an early blow when midfielder Ben Thomson injured his ankle and had to be replaced by Kegan Rose after only 10 minutes.

This didn’t effect them too badly and Beverley started to put pressure on the Hessle keeper.  Stu Oliver went close from a well-worked short corner; his subsequent shot heading into the top corner, only to be tipped over by the keeper. On 20 minutes Craig Muirhead was played in behind the Hessle defence; however his finish drifted agonisingly wide.

On 35 minutes Beverley took the lead when Stark was played in behind the Hessle defence. The keeper rushed out of his box and although it appeared he had handled the ball, Stark played on, gathered the ball and calmly slotted it into the empty net.

Hessle almost scored straight from the re-start – a well-worked move down the right-hand side found the striker in space inside Town’s 18 yard box. His strike was heading into the top corner but Town keeper Mathew Spencer made a fantastic reaction save and tipped the ball over the bar.

Town were then dealt another blow when the influential Stu Oliver had to be replaced by Jordan Organ due to injury on 40 minutes. It was testimony to Town’s strong squad that the quality of the subs did nothing to weaken the side.

Half time: Town 1-0 Hessle

Hessle came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the second half and with the wind behind them, looked to get back into the game as soon as possible. Town keeper Mathew Spencer was called into action to make a couple of early saves, followed by a fantastic one on one save after 60 minutes.

Hessle did hit the bar on 68 minutes, with a fine long-range free kick, then Spencer made another world class save on 75 minutes from a long-range shot that was flying towards the top corner.

Beverley were struggling to make any impact in the final third; however their determination not to concede was there for all to see. The midfield three and back five were all under pressure, but worked tirelessly for each other to keep the visitors out.

On 80 minutes the No 17 for Hessle was sent off following a bad tackle on striker Alex Stark, which saw Stark substituted with an injury to his ankle. He was replaced by the Albanian youngster Aldo Hysenaj, who was asked to stretch the Hessle defence with his pace.

Craig Muirhead dropped deeper to help the midfield, and with the extra man Town’s task became a little easier. On 82 minutes Town skipper Nathan White played a sublime first-time ball over the top of the Hessle defence, Hysenaj used his pace to get there first and loft a fine finish over the on-rushing keeper.

Manager Rich Jagger said: “It was a hard fought victory today. Hessle are a good side and in the second half they really had a go at us. I’ve got to say, though, that the lads were fantastic – they defended with their lives and put everything on the line to fight for the win.

“The second goal was a really bonus for us and put the game out of sight. Mathew Spencer deserves a mention for his performance today. He made a string of brilliant saves and kept us in the game at crucial times. We are really excited to be in the semi-final of this cup and can’t wait to see who we get in the draw.”