Saracens progressed through to the QF’s with a
superb second half attacking performance. If Saracens manager Gerry
Oldham had any slight concerns that his team may show rustiness from
their 2 week weather enforced break, their second half display
discounted such notions.
Berkshire outfit Penn & Tyler’s came to
Petersfield Park in good form, on the back of a four game unbeaten run
& their early first half performance showed they were oozing in
confidence and clearly up for this cup fight. Saracens themselves have
been in this situation facing underdogs already this season and knew
patience was a key factor in winning this tie.
Penn &Tyler took the
game early to Saracens and the Saracens backline including keeper Ryan
Betteridge had to face an early barrage of pressure.
A 10th min
Saracens goal though settled all concerned when Josh Swales smashed an
opener from 20yds into the roof of the net. Swales is now beginning to
look as if he getting to grips with the leagues standards since
arriving from the end of his Cheltenham Town scholarship at the
beginning of the season. This goal though didn’t dent Penn & Tyler’s
confidence! when after 5mins of Swales opener they were back on level
terms when Chris Hurst fired a 1st time shot across the body of keeper
Betteridge into the bottom corner.
From these early opening goals,
the first half took a rather scrappy phase of play and Penn were
content on dishing out the physical stuff particularly on young 18year
old defender Jordan Bryan. This he handled well and showed good
maturity throughout, dusting himself down from rough challenges and
turned the possession in to his advantage with good supply routes to
forwards Ethan Moore and Elliot Kennedy.
Saracens should have extended
their score when on 30mins Sam Slender won possession in his own half
and went on a mazy run before finding the free Jamie Hammond on the
right wing, Hammond cut inside his marker but his strong shot was
comfortably saved by the Penn keeper.
With the final minutes of the
first half approaching Saracens finally made their possession count
when Elliot Kennedy receiving a fine pass wide left, from Joe Donaghue,
cut inside and rifled in a superb shot giving the Penn keeper no
The second half was more of a joy to watch, and
Saracens were simply emphatic, taking the game by the scruff of the
neck immediately from the restart when their top scorer Ethan Moore
scored within a minute with a tap in, created from a good run by the
impressive Joe Donaghue.
3-1 down Penn had no choice but to attack
Saracens and thus constantly left themselves exposed which Saracens
exploited to the max. Moore linking up superbly with Sheehan sent a
left wing pass to the unmarked Kennedy who left two players in his wake
before slamming a right foot shot across goal into the right bottom
corner to give Saracens a comfortable 4-1 lead.
Credit though to Penn
& Tyler they didn’t give up and their movement upfront and link up play
was very good, resulting in the regular pressure of the Saracens
backline. Bryan, Tunnicliff, Slender & Tovey were though well organised
throughout and the times Penn did breach their backline Betteridge was
at hand in maintaining their score line.
Moore soon added his second
and Saracens fifth when he combined superbly with Kennedy, resulting in
a one on one with the Penn keeper Moore dropped his shoulder and sent
the keeper the wrong way despatching his effort into the corner. 5-1
With clear daylight in the game, Saracens then made changes in the 60th
min replacing both Slender & Tovey, Carl Griffiths & Spike Rhodes
replacing the duo.
Penn’s forward Reno Sepede then found himself one
on with Betteridge but couldn’t find the sort of finish that Moore had
showed just 2min previously, Sepede’s attempted lob sailed harmlessly
into Beteridges arms.
Jamie Hammond should have done better when
Kennedy sent over a 79th min fine cross to the waiting Hammond, who
unmarked in front of goal shot first time, but amazingly wide. Hammond
then had a free header inside the 6 box but again his finishing should
have been better for a player who has scored goals a plenty throughout
his Saracens career.
With Kennedy & Moore both looking for their Hat-
tricks it was a question of who would be first. Kennedy having the say
when again his link up play with his fellow attacking Colleague Moore
resulted in Kennedy despatching a fine shot into the roof of the bet
for his hat-trick adding to Saracens 6-1 score line.
undeterred, soon followed with his hat-trick. A superb Joe Donaghue run
from midfield resulted in Donaghue taking the ball round the keeper but
just as he was about to score he was brought down in the box, the
referee seeing the ball had fell to the feet of Moore waved play on for
which Moore had the easy option of an open goal. Credit to the referee
for playing on, saving Penn the likely outcome of having a player sent
Confidence in abundance between Kennedy and Moore, there was no
stopping these two; each player supplying one another with scoring
option was a joy to watch.
Kennedy added his fourth and Saracens 8th
when one touch passing between Swales, Moore and Kennedy again resulted
in Kennedy ghosting passed his markers!! Despatching his effort into
the roof of the net despite a last gasp effort from a Penn defender.
Penn scored their consolation goal in the 88th min from a corner, a
far post free header, the Saracens defenders rightly peeved as he was
left unmarked by two
Saracens midfielders.. This though shouldn’t cloud
what was a master attacking display by the rampant Saracens side.
Cheltenham Saracens 8-2 Penn & Tyler’s Green
Beteridge, Tovey (Rhodes) Slender (Griffiths C) Tunnicliff, Bryan,
Swales, Sheehan, Donaghue, Hammond, Kennedy, Moore
Subs: Oldham, C
Griffiths, T Griffiths, Rhodes