On a glorious sunny day with 4 quality teams all taking part in the Finals Cup day of the Midland Cup, Strollers knew they had to be at their best to win.
Bill Whittle GK, Chris Keirl, John Hutchins, Lee Tillen, Paul Beard (C), Steve Adcock & a big welcome back to Graham Curry.
Semi Final Draw
Oakham v Stamford Strollers and Boston v Matlock.
Stamford Strollers v Oakham.
Strollers and Oakham both started well with some high tempo football being played. A lovely through ball and Steve Adcock was able to turn the defence and drive a shot straight into the corner of the Oakham goal. Strollers weren't having it all their own way with Bill Whittle & Graham Curry being stretched to keep Oakham at bay. As half time approached, Oakham finally found a way through Stamford's defence to equalise. HT1-1. The second half started with some half chances for both teams, Chris Keirl continued to drive the midfield forward encouraging Strollers to shoot on target. John Hutchins found some space on the left and hit a shot that slowly squirmed through the Oakham keeper's hands and legs to give Stamford the lead. Oakham were now chasing the game and Strollers were finding space - some good movement across the midfield left room for Bill Whittle to find Steve Adcock who produced a 'Cruyff' like turn to fool the defence and find the net with an emphatic finish! Strollers managed the ball to see the game out.
Strollers win 3-1.
Strollers watched the end of the other Semi Final as it went extra time - with Matlock coming out winners by the odd goal against Boston. Another top quality game between 2 excellent teams.
Stamford Strollers v Matlock.
This was always going to be a cagey match as all players know each other well and so it proved to be. Matlock started sharper than Stamford as they attacked well and defended in numbers. Strollers were finding it difficult to hold them back and a quickly taken free kick from Matlock caught Strollers out and was clinically finished by Matlock, and this was how it stayed until half time. Matlock lead 1-0. Strollers made a change at half time to mix things up but opportunities were few and far between for both sides. Lee Tillen worked his socks off marking Matlock's tricky midfielder to ensure they didn't extend their lead further. Strollers continued to push forward with Chris, Paul and Lee looking for space whilst Bill Whittle and Graham Curry kept Matlock at bay at the back. Another good passing move enabled Steve Adcock to spin the defender and beat the keeper to equalise 1-1! Strollers and Matlock went looking for the winner in the last quarter of the match. Starting from the back Bill passed to Graham then on to Lee who produced a neat pass to Steve who drifted across the goal and hit a sublime curling shot into the top right corner - absolutely brilliant! Strollers now lead 2-1. Matlock pressed for the equaliser but Strollers held firm with a great defensive shift by the whole team.
Strollers WIN CUP 2-1!
Golden Boot: Our very own Steve Adcock wins the Golden Boot for the 2nd year running with 10 goals this season, including 4 today!
Tim Marsden & Bill Heath were on holiday so unavailable for selection today, both played in the group stages of the Cup.