ROBSON CUP (SEMI-FINAL)
Red Row Welfare...3
RED Row advanced to the Robson Cup final after a hard-fought victory against a well-organised Bamburgh side that proved hard to break down.
The opening 15 minutes were mainly spent in the middle of the park with Red Row patiently passing the ball around but finding Bamburgh’s defence hard to unlock.
A mazy run from Matty Graham found midfield partner Paul Smith, whose shot was well saved by Guy Filer in the Bamburgh goal.
The resulting corner evaded everybody except for Dan Palmer who pumped the ball back into the box for Darren Smith to ghost in at the back post for his 32nd goal in just 22 games.
Red Row foolishly allowed their concentration levels to drop and were punished when sloppiness at the back allowed Bamburgh in to equalise with a patented rapid counter attack that resulted in Chris Dalton firing home with a powerful drive.
Red Row upped the tempo and tried to regain the lead before half-time but Filer was again in inspired form in the visitors’ goal, saving a glancing header from Mick Straker before thwarting Darren Smith’s efforts to double his tally when one-on-one.
The second half carried on in a similar vein with Red Row mounting pressure on Bamburgh but not overwhelming them, with the visitors always looking dangerous on the break.
The home side were awarded a free-kick just before the hour mark and Paul Smith stepped up and smashed it into the top corner from all of 30 yards with the ball hitting both the underside of the bar and the post on its way in, a trademark goal for the midfield playmaker.
As Bamburgh pushed for an equaliser, a defence-splitting pass from Darren Smith found Sean Palmer who raced through on goal before placing it into the bottom corner.
However, the brave visitors didn’t lie down and would have been back in the game if it wasn’t for the heroics of Marc Mavin in goal for Red Row who produced a point-blank double save to ensure that Red Row booked themselves into another cup final with a tough Runciman Cup semi-final trip to Bamburgh still to come next week. This comes after a massive midweek league fixture at home to North Sunderland.
Match sponsor: Performance Personal Training. HFC Pizza man-of-the-match: Paul Smith. Match hospitality: Red Row Brick Club.
Red Row squad: M Mavin, J Charlton, M Smith, M Straker, D Palmer, K Taylor, M Graham, P Smith, S Palmer, K Bell, D Smith, S Anderson, D Whenray.