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Liphook United 5-2 Fleetlands

CUP holders Liphook United produced a measured performance to secure a semi-final spot with victory over Fleetlands today (Saturday December 15).

Match report by Henry Ascoli

Clinical finishing proved crucial in this open encounter, with both sides forced to adapt their style of play on a sodden pitch at the Recreation Ground.

United showed energy and intent early on, yet failed to trouble goalkeeper George Daniels with a wayward effort from James Neighbour and a curling free kick from Richard Covey.

Fleetlands responded with a sweeping counter-attack, only for Scott Hamilton to lose control of the ball as the defence frantically tracked back.

Liphook goalkeeper Scott Sillence was called into action moments later, firstly diving at the feet of Hamilton to prevent a free shot on goal, then reacting swiftly to beat Steve Britten to the ball. United broke the deadlock five minutes before the break, as a strong shot from Mike Stott sparked a diving save from Daniels, then Steve Harding seized on the rebound and slotted the ball home.

Liphook doubled their lead two minutes later, as Steve Harding evaded the defence to direct a powerful header into the top right corner of the net.

Fleetlands reduced the deficit on the stroke of half time, when Britten gathered possession 25 yards out, then hit the target with a confident strike through a sea of legs in the box.

United created numerous clear-cut chances in a frantic start to the second half, as a curling effort from Dan Harding landed inches wide, before desperate defending denied Steve Harding from close range.

Liphook received the reward for this sustained pressure on the hour mark, as Ryan Angear rose to meet a corner and nodded the ball into the back of the net from five yards. Fleetlands surged forward in search of an immediate response, and a rasping strike from Dan Jones prompted an athletic save from Sillence, before Elliot Fairweather blasted the ball high and wide. United secured victory with ten minutes remaining, as Neighbour capitalised on time and space to produce a composed finish from 25 yards.

Fleetlands pulled a goal back with 84 minutes on the clock, as Fairweather beat the defence to gather a loose ball and convert from an acute angle.

Liphook completed the scoring during the dying moments, when James Penfold pulled the ball back from the byline for Dan Harding to finish from five yards.

“We are getting stronger as a squad as the season goes on, and both the performance and result today have given us a massive confidence boost,” said Liphook United manager Ryan Angear.

“Hopefully we can maintain the momentum and cause an upset against one of the bigger sides to reach the final.”

United turn their attention to the league next Saturday (December 22) with a home clash against Locks Heath.

Liphook United: Sillence, Burton (Phillips), Covey, Hutchins (Gatcum), Adair, Williams (C), Angear, Stott (Penfold), Neighbour, S Harding, D Harding.

Fleetlands: Daniels, Polkinghorme, Jones, Ritchie (C), Sheppard, Emery, Austin, Fairweather, Britten, Hamilton, Rich. Substitutes: Goodall, Marsh, McKinlay.

Article posted on: 18 December 2012

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