HEYWOOD IRISH CENTRE will play Division II high-fliers Lindley WMC in the final of the Rollinson Cup.
The semi against Cricketers was the seventh consecutive cup-tie for Irish, who still have semis to play in the Huddersfield and District FA and West Riding County FA Sunday Cups.
Their Rollinson semi had all the makings of an excellent match but, unfortunately, after only 10 minutes Cricketers’ keeper Chris Cornelly was sent-off following a verbal disagreement with one of the assistant referees.
Defender Wayne Walker had to go in goal and, because of this in-balance, the game was never going to live up to expectations.
However, it was 20 minutes before Irish broke down the Cricketers resistance when defender JC Higgins found John Paul Flynn with a long pass and Flynn rifled his shot into the net.
Shortly afterwards, stand-in keeper Walker made an excellent save from Ashley Flynn.
Just before the break a good move by Cricketers ended in Nathan Tayo equalising, but Irish struck back with a flowing move for Adam Bell to regain the lead.
Early in the second half from another excellent move, Steve Perrin made it 3-1.
Both these goals were mainly due to Cricketers being a man down and leaving gaps.
Twice Kevin Ashe in Irish’s goal made excellent saves to keep Cricketers out but half way through the second half Bell sealed the game at 4-1 with a superb free-kick.
Dean Johnson at the back for Cricketers was outstanding, as was midfielder Steve ‘Reggie’ Perrin for Irish.
In Division I, second-placed Team Forward were made to go all the way to beat of the challenge of bottom club Wellington and could manage only a very close 4-3 victory.
Dwayne Willie, Nathan Simpson, Matthew Kilner and Lee Maturine got their goals, with Neil Slattery, Jacob Goodare and Dominic Harris replying for the losers.
Until Irish Centre get back to league business it is difficult to tell who will be champions.
In Division II, Lindley met with very strong resistance from third-placed Rose and Crown and a single goal by Brighton Mugadza for Lindley settled the game.
This was Rose and Crown’s third successive defeat and it is now almost certainly a two-way fight for the championship.