S7 SOCCER ACADEMY are through to the Semi Final of the Orphanage Cup for a second successive year after a hard fought 4-1 victory over Great Harwood Windows on a cold, wet & windy night at pleasington.

S7 won the toss and opted to kick against the wind first half in the hope they could take advantage of the strong wind in the second half.

S7 were missing 3 of there usual back 4 so had to shuffle the pack slightly. David Hickey started at right back, Ellis Gallaher left back with Ben Morgan & Kyle Jackson playing alongside each other at centre half. Chris Baker was asked to play the holding role in centre of midfield with Mo Nabeel and Ryan McKenna just in front and it was business as usual in in the attacking department with Stubberfield & Macquarrie playing either side of Hamlin.

Great Harwood Windows settled into the game more quickly than S7 and played some good football early on, the lone striker causing problems with his pace & strength but they failed to take advantage of their early possession and didn't create anything to trouble the returning Jordan Watson in goal.

It was S7 who created the best opening. Macquarrie found himself free at the back post but his goal bound effort was saved by the feet of the advancing goalkeeper.

S7 found themselves coming more and more into the game now and they broke the deadlock on 15 minutes when a delightfully weighted through ball from Stubberfield found Macquarrie, he evaded a couple of tackles, rounded the keeper and composed himself to slide the ball into the empty net and make it 1-0

The lead didn't last long and S7 will be disappointed with the goal conceded. A long throw into the penalty area found an unmarked player five yards out who had the easy task of nodding the ball into the empty net.

Great Harwood finished the first half the stronger of the two teams but didn't really take advantage of the strong wind, they played too many long balls which were dealt with by the S7 back 4 or like on many occasions ran all the way through to Jordan Watson in goal.

The second half saw S7 play much better football, the impressive midfield trio of Baker, McKenna and Nabeel really got a foot hold on the game and they started to dominate.

Chances were still few and far between and you got the feeling the next goal could be crucial.

The goal came with around 20 minutes remaining, Mo Nabeel stole the ball in midfield and played a through ball towards Hamlin, he looked second best when the pass was played but did well to out muscle the defender, he rounded the goalkeeper and squeezed the ball in at the near post to make it 2-1.

It wasn't all plain sailing from there and S7 threw Great Harwood a lifeline when the striker was upended with a clumsy tackle inside the box. The referee didn't hesitate and immediately pointed to the spot. The striker took the kick himself but saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Watson low down to his right.

At the other end Stubberfield almost made it 3-1, Hamlin won the initial header which Macquartie latched onto, he played the ball back to Hamlin who then found Stubberfield to the right of the area, he hit a powerful half volley which the keeper did well to tip round the post.

Macquarrie then had a couple of chances to put the game to bed, he got into some great positions but his finishing lacked conviction.

There was nothing lacking in S7's third goal though. Stubberfield took a short corner to McKenna, he cut inside two players and smashed a left footed shot into the far bottom corner, this made it 3-1 and really seemed to knock the stuffing out of Great Harwood.

S7 then added a fourth late on, a great passing move found Macquarrie free at the far post, he unselfishly laid the ball off to Nabeel who slotted the ball home to score his 3rd goal in the last 2 games.

A special mention must go to the makeshift back 4 and 3 centre midfielders who battled hard and never stopped working throughout, it was this determination that saw the game out in the end. S7 will feel they will always create chances with the quality of the front 3 and this proved the case with Macquarrie and Hamlin getting on the scoresheet and Stubberfield being involved with a couple of the goals too.

S7 have been drawn against BT in the semi finals who also won tonight beating WEC on penalties. The other semi final sees Blackburn with Darwen Council take on East Lancs Hospital Trust who both won their ties comfortably.

Line up: Watson, Hickey, Jackson, Moragn, Gallaher, Baker, Nabeel, McKenna, Maqaurrie, Hamlin, Stubberfield.


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