Alport and Lairds reach the Division One play off final
Sat 12th May 2018 | General | By Ian Templeman
Whitchurch Alport will host Cammell Laird 1907 in the Division One play off final this coming Thursday at Yockings Park, after both emerged victorious from their respective semi-finals today.
A total of almost 800 spectators watched the two games, which provided excellent entertainment for everyone who attended both venues.
At Yockings Park, Whitchurch Alport edged past Sandbach United in a close fought encounter, with a goal from substitute Joe Cuff 14 minutes from time earning Alport a 1-0 win.
Cuff had been an early replacement for Nicholas Porter, coming on in the 29th minute of a game that was keenly contested throughout.
The best chance of the first half fell to Sandbach a minute before half time, when Ryan Allcock was denied by a fine diving save by Alport goalkeeper Danny Read.
Read was in action again just after the hour mark, this time denying Adam Clayton with another fine save.
Simon Everall then came close with a glancing header for Whitchurch Alport before Sandbach spurned another chance with Jordan Davies shooting wide from a good position.
But the deciding moment in the game arrived on 76 minutes, when Joe Cuff struck a shot from the edge the box which took a deflection off the knee of a Sandbach defender before nestling in the bottom corner of the net.
Despite a late onslaught from Sandbach, the home side held out and now face a home final play off against Cammell Laird 1907, who avenged their midweek defeat in the LWC Drinks First Division Cup final with a 4-1 win at Prestwich Heys at Adie Moran Park.
Lairds had the better of the chances in the opening 45 minutes, with Thomas Murray sending a shot just wide, and Joe Malkin clipping the top of the crossbar with a fine curling effort inside the opening 15 minutes.
It was, however, on the back of another chance for Lairds that Heys took the lead on 24 minutes.
A shot on the turn from Thomas Quinn was safely gathered by Heys keeper Michael White, and his immediate clearance downfield was flicked into the path of Alfie Belcher, who strode into the box and buried a shot into the net at the near post.
However, Lairds levelled on 35 minutes when Thomas Mitchell rose to meet a high hanging cross from Kynan Mason to power a header into the corner of the net from 10 yards and set up an exciting second half.
Heys began the second half on the front foot and substitute Chris Baguley had the ball in the net four minutes after the restart, but the referee ruled that Lairds goalkeeper Matthew Lavelle had been fouled and gave a free kick.
At the midway point, Rio Wilson-Heyes came desperately close to giving Heys the lead when he burst past the covering full back and sent a shot across the face of goal that narrowly missed eth far post.
But a minute later, Lairds' Thomas Quinn hit the post with a 25 yarder, and within four minutes the visitors took the lead, when Heys keeper White parried a Joshua Maldon shot and Joe Malkin followed up to smash the ball into the net.
As the game moved into the closing stages, Heys tried desperately to get a foothold in the game but met stubborn resistance from Lairds, who wrapped the win with two goals in the space of as many minutes late on.
First, a right wing cross from Maldon was missed by attackers and defenders alike before landing in the path of Matthew Carlin at the back post and he tucked the ball away to give Lairds a two goal lead, which they increased further a minute later when Daniel Cross rifled a 25 yarder into the far corner of the net to seal an impressive win.