S7 SOCCER ACADEMY 3 - 2 SENATOR - SEMI FINAL

S7 Soccer Academy have achieved a fantastic feat of reaching the Final of the Orphanage Cup at the first attempt following a well fought 3-2 victory over Senator (Office Equipment Manufacturers based in Accrington).

S7 were still without the injured Jack Brierley but saw the return of Daniel Stubberfield & Zack Dale to the starting lineup, Chris Mason was also fit for selection after his recent hamstring injury.

S7 started the game with their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.

The game started quite slowly with neither side being able to get a foothold in the game, possession swapped hands more frequently than S7 would have liked. Regardless of this it was S7 that looked the most dangerous creating two guilt edged chances in the first 20 minutes. Jordan Macquarrie should have scored when the goalkeeper misjudged the bounce but the keeper did well to recover and smother at the hesitant Macquarries feet. Moments later Macquarrie had another chance to open the scoring when he was played through by Lewis Hamlin but again his finish lacked conviction.

S7 continued to dominate the game, especially with Zack Dale and Daniel Stubberfield who looked to have the beating of their respective full backs.

Macquarrie thought he had scored minutes later, again he was played in by Hamlin but a great save from the goalkkeper denied him his goal, it was looking like is wasnt going to be his night but he finally got his reward for his persistence in the 30th minute when the industrious Zack Dale disposessed the Centre Half, drove towards the goal before hitting a low left footed shot, the goalkeeper did well to save the initial effort but Macquarrie followed in for a tap in to make it 1-0.

Dale almost got on the scoresheet himself, after another good move involving Macquaarie and Stubberfield the ball broke to Dale who curled a left footed shot towards goal but he saw his lobbed effoert just drift past he far post.

Senator didnt have any real chances until late in the half when a shot come cross almost caught out S7 goalkeeper Martin Gillibrand but he was relived to see to ball dritf past the far post.

S7 should of been out of sight by half time as another chance was wasted on the stroke of half time. Stubberfield broke the offside trap and was through on goal, he had Macqurrie in a good position with the goal gaping but over hit his pass when shooting looked the better option.

The referee blew for half time soon after and although S7 were 1-0 up they felt it should of been a much greater margain.

Within 2 minutes S7 could have and probably should have doubled thier lead, some great work by Macquarrie got in behind the Senator defence and he cut the ball back to David Hickey but he saw his shot rebound back off the outside of the post.

This seemd to spring Senator into life, and they levelled the game on 50 minutes when there was a mix up in the usually solid defence. Gillibrand was caught in two minds and he indecisiveness lead to the ball breaking to the far post were the Senator winger ended up with an easy tap in.

S7 needed to raise their game as Senator looked a different side in second half albeit with their very direct approach. The S7 defence rose to the challenge, Jake Errey winning everting in the air and Ellis Galalher and Nathan Sargeson had good games at full back keeping the 2 wingers very quiet.

After the Senator goal the midfield trio of Hickey, Hamlin and Dunn finally started to get the ball down and string a few passes together and link up with Dale, Stubberfield and Maqurrie who always looked dangerous when attacking. It was the combination of slick passing and good movement that created the next chance of the game, Hamlin played in Stubberfield but he saw he chipped effort well saved by the Senator goalkeepr.

In the 62nd minute S7 did regained their advantage, a corner broke to Hickey on the edge of the box, his initial effort was blocked and rebounded to Hamlin, who played the ball wide to Dale on the right hand side, his deep cross caught out he goalkeeper and drifted straight in at the back post to make it 2-1.

The second goal seemed to rejuvenise S7 and they went looking for a third, this came in the 68th minute. Hamlin played a first time pass into Macquaarie, he held the ball up well and found Stubberfield who made a great over lapping run, he didnt make the same mistake as the first half and arrowed a left shot in at the near post beyond the despairing goalkeeper.

Matt Dunn had a couple of chances to extend the lead, on one occasion he was played in by Stubberfield but his shot lacked power and was easily saved. The second chance was a piece of individual brilliance, he juggled the ball on the edge of the box, flicked it over one defender before volleying towards the top corner, this time the impressive Senator goalkeeper made a great save.

S7  brought on Shaun Corran with 20 minutes to go and he made some vital interceptions and prevented a number of attacks from developing down the left hand side.

With time running out Senator pushed men forward and thought they had pulled one back, a cross came in from the wing and was headed home but the linesman made a good call as the striker was 5 yards offside.

Hamlin, who was struggling with a hamstring problem was replaced by Chris Mason with 10 minutes to go, this was a welcome return for S7 as Mason had looked dangerous in previous games. Mason almost got through straight away, a clever reverse pass by Stubberfield found Mason but his lack of football over the last couple of weeks showed as he wasnt as sharp as he usually is.

S7 were tiring towards the end and looked light in midfield as Hickey and Dunn struggled with cramp, this forced Macquarie, Stubberfield and Dale to drop deeper and help with the defensive duties which seemd to allow more space for the Senator holding midfield player (Number 7).

It was the Sentor Number 7 that finally brought them some hope, he hit a fierce 35 yard shot which flew into the roof of the net but Martin Gillibrand in the S7 goal may feel he could of done a little better with.

S7 held out for the remaning minutes to book themselves a place in the final at Ewood park on Friday 25th May. S7 will play the winners of Totally Wicked and Red Rose Dry Lining (who have won the competition for the last 2 years.

Line up: Gillibrand, Gallaher (70), Errey, White, Sargeson, Stubberfield, Hickey, Dunn, Dale, Hamlin (80), Macquarrie.

Subs: Coran (70), Mason (80)

Man of the Match: Zack Dale

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