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Pickering strike puts Whitchurch through in North Hants Senior Cup
Whitchurch United 1 Andover Town 0.
A fortuitous Alex Pickering strike 20 minutes into a storm lashed North Hants Senior Cup tie was enough for Whitchurch to edge past a young Andover Town on Tuesday night at Longmeadow writes sports editor Kerry Miller.
It was hard on Town who played the last quarter with ten men after Josh Rees-Long was sent off for two cautions and could have snatched a result as Leighton Speechley-Price peppered the home goal in the second half and U18 substitute Ed Chappe almost made his mark with his first touch but for Jam Boys’ keeper Tom Hindmarsh.
Town boss Neil Benson fielded just five of the squad which beat Cowes Sports on Saturday while United’s Jim Macey rested Isaac Sedu, Shane Lock and Adam Pearson but the Premier Division side found it difficult to post any authority on the match as the thunder and lightning rolled around the ground.
Nic Turpin had a drive saved by Michael Weatherall and U18 striker Tommy Wright stung Hindmarsh’s hands with a powerful drive as the storm hit then after 20 minutes Pickering played a 1-2 with Turpin and his shot skidded off the sodden surface and through Weatherall to give them the lead.
Pa Touray was booked a foul just outside the box and from the free-kick Speechley-Price brought a flying save out of Hindmarsh who was then relieved when the same man shot and the ball squirmed away but stopped on the line and was cleared.
Tom Riddell and Oli Yates then combined for Speechley-Price to just fail to guide home a scissors kick before Luke Walker limped off right on half-time.
After the break man of the match Speechley-Price again tested Hindmarsh and was inches wide with a left foot drive but Town were put on the back foot as Rees-Long, having a rare appearance alongside twin brother Joe, was sent off for two fouls in quick succession in what was otherwise a clean game.
Turpin then went on a run but was just crowded out which prompted Benson to introduce Chappe who went on a mazy run and all but equalised inside 20 seconds of going on.
With Touray and sub Isaac Sedu both having quiet games there was little reaching Turpin and Town’s youthful contingent was increased when Oli Bailey was introduced but despite Chappe’s corner causing mayhem and Yates having a shot saved, United took their place in the semi-final.
Whitchurch United have been drawn away to Follands Sports in the Hampshire Senior Cup 3rd Rd, to be played week commencing December 2.