Red Row surge through

Red Row Welfare...4 AFC Newbiggin...1

Bilclough Cup, Semi-final

RED Row booked their place in the Bilclough Cup final with an emphatic victory over bitter rivals Newbiggin on Saturday.

Straight from the whistle, Red Row took control of the game, playing some very attractive attacking football and putting their opponents on the back-foot. They could have taken the lead early on when talisman Ronnie Warwick was played in on goal but his shot flew over the crossbar.

Newbiggin had a chance to grab a goal themselves as Michael Freathy blatantly punched the ball towards goal without the referee noticing but justice prevailed as his effort went over. Red Row then proceeded to bombard Newbiggin’s backline with wave after wave of attacks and Matty Graham thought he had opened the scoring after getting on the end of a Josh Baston cross but the ball had gone out of play before the cross reached him.

Undeterred, Red Row did take the lead on 25 minutes after Chris Waters handled in the box, Darren Smith calmly dispatching the spot-kick for his 30th of the season (1-0).

The home side kept up the pressure and Smith almost doubled his tally but his chip was saved by Murdie in the Newbiggin goal but he was powerless to stop a moment of genius that soon followed. Graham passed into the feet of Kevin Bell, who, on the corner of the 18-yard box, chipped up the ball and hit a dipping half-volley over the keeper into the net to double Red Row’s advantage (2-0).

Early in the second half, Newbiggin were awarded a soft penalty which Colin Mclleland side-footed home (2-1). But Red Row continued to press in an attempt to kill off the game and were rewarded after a deep Paul Smith cross found Darren Smith who attempted to control it with his chest only for it to skim off him and past the keeper to make it 3-1.

Newbiggin pushed men forward in an attempt to get back into the game and were caught on the break as Warwick played Baston in to tap home and get the goal that he deserved after another impressive display with his devastating pace and skill (4-1).

This was, without a doubt, Red Row’s best performance of the season and stands them in good stead with the league run-in and two more semi-finals still to come.

Red Row: M Mavin, J Giles, M Smith, M Straker, D Palmer, K Bell, M Graham, P Smith, J Baston, D Smith, R Warwick, S Palmer, K Taylor, J Charlton. HFC Pizzas man-of-the-match: Paul Smith. Match sponsor: Performance Personal Training. Match hospitality: Red Row Brick Club.