An early start and three hour journey to Loughborough in the last sixteen of the ESFA Premier Cup was made a little easier by some welcome sunshine.
Team BTC started brightly, Coppin linked well with O’Halloran who in-turn brought Manley and Scott in from the flanks. The midfield was equally on point with Cottrill, Byrne & Watts industrious and neat on the ball.
After fifteen minutes Team BTC took the lead when O’Hallorans excellent effort could only be parried out of the box to Manly who volleyed home first time 0-1.
Edging the first half there could well have been more goals bar the superb performance of the home keeper. Coppin had two solid efforts just saved by the keepers fingertips, as well as O’Halloran and Watts efforts requiring good saves.
At the other end Purser, Mason, Wilkinson and Biggs stood firm to shut out the home sides couple of half chances.
In the second period Loughborough changed shape and immediately caused problems. Recognising this Team BTC looked to adjust.. but too late and Loughborough drew level with a goal mouth scramble 1-1.
Once reshaped Team BTC looked the more likely to take the lead but Loughborough had gained more confidence from their goal.. and spilled over into a terrible challenge on Mason that arguably warranted a red card, but got yellow.
Undeterred Team BTC kept probing for the lead with O’Halloran wriggling past his man on a number of occasions to feed Coppin who narrowly went wide.
Then with ten minutes to go O’Halloran got the goal his efforts deserved. Cutting his marker to gain a yard his strike found the bottom corner out of the goalkeepers reach 1-2.
Looking set to see the game out Loughborough again responded with a goal mouth scramble in the air to go 2-2 with three minutes remaining.
Having let their game ebb and flow in momentum what cannot be denied is the ability to press till the end.
With one minute remaining Coppin’s persistent harassment of the home teams backline led to a throw in that the keeper had to react to. Thinking quickest Coppin threw the ball towards O’Halloran as the keeper tried desperately to reset himself. It was too late as O’Halloran delightful lob eluded the recovering keeper and into the net 3-2.
A tougher game than could of been, when you consider how good Team BTC were in the first period going forward. However credit to our hosts for changing up and getting back into it.
Harry Mason was arguably man of the match with a composed defensive display, but a number of the other players plus Purser whose second half performance was up there as well.
Onto the quarter finals.
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