Pegasus Juniors through to the semi-finals of the Herefordshire FA County Challenge Cup last night with a tight 2-1 win over Saturday Premier newcomers Clee Hill United
Pegasus took the lead after Kyle Panniers drilled home a penalty, with Lewis Clarke’s goal from a corner giving the hosts a two-goal lead. But the second penalty of the game, this time for Clee Hill, saw them pull a goal back before half time as Josh Carpenter dispatched the ball past the keeper. The visitors couldn’t find an equaliser after putting in a spirited second half performance, meaning Peggy are in the draw for the semis.
The three-division gap between the two sides wasn’t obvious, as Peggy manager Mick Panniers admitted it wasn’t easy for his side and older heads are needed to balance the squad. “I’m glad to get through, but we made very hard work of it,” said Panniers. “I thought they were a decent side for the Herefordshire League, but once we get to 2-0 we should be going away with the game, but they got back into it with a penalty and I thought they deserved a draw out of the game.
“I’m just happy to get through. We have to go out and get two or three experienced players, how we get them is another matter. We can’t keep asking youngsters to keep on doing it, especially against stronger sides because they physically can’t do it.”
Going into the game off the back of a 7-0 thrashing in the league at home to Malvern Town, Pegasus got off to a bright start with an early shot rattling the woodwork. Seconds later they created another chance but Ben Price couldn’t keep his shot down as he scooped the ball over the bar from 12-yards.
Clee Hill also looked a threat and managed to break down the Pegasus back four as Craig Breakwell burst through the middle, but he drilled his shot wide despite strike-partner Adam Warren crying out in support. Peggy keeper Brandon Powell, who’s on a dual-registration deal from Hereford, was called into action to smother a free kick midway through the half. Liam Whitbread floated the ball into the box, but Powell managed to claim it at the second time of asking after it was flicked towards the far post.
The deadlock was broken in the 28th minute, as Pegasus were awarded a penalty after George Andrews was bundled over after breaking into the box. Captain Kyle Panniers stepped up, duly dispatching the ball into the back of the net after sending keeper Dave Shorter the wrong way. The hosts did look more composed after taking the lead and Lewis Clarke added a second as he curled home a corner nine minutes from the break. Despite a number of bodies trying to meet his corner at the far post, the ball snuck in to double the lead. But before half time, a lapse in concentration then gave Clee Hill a way back into the game. The referee spotted an infringement within the box and quickly pointed the spot for the second time in the game. Josh Carpenter found the top right-hand corner of the net with his cleanly-struck spot kick, just out of reach of the diving Powell.
HT: Pegasus Juniors 2 – Clee Hill United 1
17-year-old Brandon Powell was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers during the opening stages of the second half, with one of the better chances being wasted by Craig
Breakwell. The Clee Hill forward should’ve done better with his effort from the right of the box, but with the defence nowhere to be seen he struck his effort wide.
Clee Hill continued to control possession, with goalscorer Carpenter a constant threat down the left flank. It proved to be another lucky escape for the hosts as Carpenter’s cross flashed across the face of goal, just inches too far ahead of Adam Warren and Craig Breakwell before Owen Giles hooked the ball clear.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, Pegasus remained under the cosh but Powell commanded his area well. Two chances for Liam Whitbread just missed the target, the first rested on top of the net before a second was inches wide with the keeper at full stretch. A last push from Peggy to grab a third and seal the win saw George Andrews surge forward on a rare attack for the hosts. Andrews was able to play the ball through to Jake McQuilkin, but with a tired defence well-beaten, he scuffed his shot and the keeper easily gathered.
In a tense final few minutes which saw both sides create half-chances with the best coming from a stoppage time free kick for Clee Hill. Skipper James Clifford was unlucky not to net an equaliser as his effort took a deflection before striking the stanchion. At the end of four minutes of injury time, controversy arose over a penalty shout for the hosts, but the referee blew for full-time before making a decision.
FT: Pegasus Juniors 2 – Clee Hill United 1
Pegasus Juniors: Powell, Horton, Giles, Barnett, Panniers (c), Payne, Andrews, Clarke, Price, Murphy, McQuilkin.
Subs: Harris, Tobin, Clay, Hopkins.
Clee Hill United: Shorter, Taylor, Harper, Milward, Edwards, Slingsby, L. Whitbread, Clifford (c), Breakwell, Carpenter, Warren.
Subs: Eddies-Davies, W. Whitbread, Percival.
Match Photos courtesy of Will Cheshire will be uploaded to our flickr page later on this evening
Thanks to James Thomas for the match report