Badgers in final as Wes hits the winner

Wes Henry struck an extra-time winner to seal Eastwood’s passage through to another Notts Senior Cup final.

Nottinghamshire Senior Cup Quarter-Final

CARLTON TOWN 1

Matt Millns 34

EASTWOOD TOWN 1

Jevaise Christie 38

Wes Henry 108

After extra-time

by Mark Duffy

THE beacon of hope at the end of many an Eastwood season, good or bad, has so often been the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup.

And even in this torrid campaign where very little has gone the Badgers’ way, this success on Wednesday night ensured the now yearly trip to the county final will once again take place.

In a match that took an eternity to get going, the young Eastwood team worked hard throughout and deserved their victory against a side currently performing well two divisions below.

Carlton, who had several ex-Badgers in their line-up, should have gone in front in the opening couple of minutes, as Ruben Wiggins-Thomas was sent clear but the combination of a bobble and wayward shooting saw his effort go harmlessly wide.

Wiggins-Thomas was then denied what looked a clear penalty when apparently brought down by one or both of Sam Benjamin and Ashley Noble, referee Liam Jones seemingly the only man in the ground who thought it wasn’t a foul.

The next clear opening took nearly half-an-hour to arrive, Sammy MacVicar flashing a shot just wide from six yards out after Daniel Fletcher’s cross from the left.

But the opener then followed on 33 minutes. Alistair Asher floated in a free-kick from the inside right position and defender Matt Millns got his head to the ball and sent it into the top corner of the net.

The equaliser came just four minutes later, when the ball was nodded into the box by Jake Green and Jevaise Christie headed past rookie goalkeeper Grant Vann to level the scores.

MacVicar twice saw efforts go straight at Sam Andrew in the Badgers goal before the break but the scores were to be rightfully level at half-time.

Danny Elliott broke forward with the first real opening of the second-half, beating two players well before slicing a shot wide of goal.

Eastwood should have gone in front on 63 when Christie broke free and squared to Mitch Hanson on the penalty spot with the keeper stranded, but his shot was cleared off the line by Asher and the ball went for a corner.

Terry Hawkridge’s drilled ball across goal then somehow missed all interested parties two minutes later, before Christie retired hurt after challenging Carlton’s ball juggling goalkeeper in an incident that could have seen the young stopper embarrassed on 68 minutes.

Hanson was next to show with a left-footed effort from the edge of the area which was straight at Vann, Wiggins-Thomas headed wide after more good work from the dangerous Hawkridge and Carlton sub Anthony Griffith wasn’t far away with an overhead kick.

But with the scores still level after 90 minutes, extra-time it was.

Gregg Simmons let fly in the opening seconds but Vann saved well, before Griffith ran through at the other end but could only hit the top of the bar from a tight angle.

Simmons again had an effort saved by Vann as the game passed 100 minutes and Adam Kimberley hit a shot straight at Andrew as the hosts too looked dangerous.

But the Badgers were to take the lead three minutes into the second period. A speculative long ball forward saw young Wes Henry chasing, the substitute meeting the ball just ahead of Vann and his header rolling into the net.

Carlton’s efforts to save the game were in vain, Griffith, MacVicar and Millns all going close, and the Badgers were left to celebrate a rare but well-deserved victory.

Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Kallum Keane 3 Sam Benjamin (Josh Raven 77) 4 Danny Elliott 5 Gavin Caines 6 Ashley Noble (David Haggerty 70) 7 Jake Green 8 Mitch Hanson 9 Jevaise Christie (Wes Henry 70) 10 Alex Troke 11 Gregg Simmons

Sub not used: Richard Cooper

Ref: Liam Jones

Att: 154