Junior Football: Rastrick power through to RCD Under 16 Cup final with victory over Shelley
TITLE-CHASING Rastrick powered through to the RCD Under 17 League Cup final when ending the unbeaten record of Division IIB leaders Shelley 6-1 in their semi-final.
Shelley started the game well and looked as though they would give their opponents a run for their money but, unfortunately, it was not to be their day as Rastrick dominated for much of the game.
Shelley began brightly enough but, with a square back four defending high up the pitch, they were caught flat-footed when a Tom Rose chip sent Ben Baker clear to drive the ball past onrushing keeper Sam Folley.
The second, a mix-up between keeper and defender, allowed William Tolley to stroke the ball into an empty net.
Tom Stead and Ben Thompson worked hard to stop a Rastrick side whose power and pace threatened to add to their scoreline at any moment, and their efforts started to pay dividends as Shelley began to give as much as they got.
However, Rastrick’s rearguard of Tom Ponder, Reece Gasby, Tom Healey and Tolley made sure that keeper Joe Stead remained relatively untroubled.
The space between Shelley’s back four and goal was always vulnerable and they were caught out by a near copy of the first goal when Baker raced through to launch a dipping volley over keeper Folley and into the net.
Matthew Hopley showed some fine footwork as he tried to carve open the Rastrick defence, but his efforts went unrewarded.
Meanwhile, another speedy Rastrick left-wing attack looked like ending as Baker appeared to have run out of pitch, but his last-second pull-back found Takunda Simba, who made no mistake from five yards just before the break (4-0 at half time).
Shelley had little option but all-out attack as the second half got under way, but their efforts left them seriously exposed and, when Tolley found himself unmarked when a cross landed at his feet, the Rastrick player was happy to add a fifth goal to the tally.
Oliver Sutcliffe produced a faint ray of hope for Shelley when he went around two Rastrick defenders and keeper Stead to score what was arguably the goal of the game.
But the muted celebrations signalled this was no more than a consolation goal.
The final say went to Rastrick when a clumsy Jacob Mear challenge sent substitute Matty Waller sprawing in the penalty area, giving referee Mick Roberts no alternative but to award a penalty.
Healey stepped up to convert the spot kick and give Rastrick a comfortable passage into the final, where they will meet the winners of this coming Sunday’s semi-final between Bay Athletic and BPA Juniors.