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Brace for Carl McClements sees Milborne through
MILBORNE SPORTS 2 UPWEY & BROADWEY 1
With two divisions separating the sides, Upwey were huge favourites to progress but a double from Milborne’s ace marksman saw them crash out, much to the frustration of visiting manager Steve Reynolds.
“Fair play to Milborne but the fact we created three times more than they did and still came away losing was very disappointing indeed, and we can only have ourselves to blame,” said Reynolds.
“Carl McClements is a good lad and he popped up twice for them but for the rest of the game you wouldn’t have really known he was playing. “He has that knack of being in the right place at the right time though and you cannot take that away from him.”
Upwey were missing several key players including Frank Budden, Richard Frost, Charlie Kenderdine, Ty Young and the suspended Darren Samways but they were still glad to see the game get the green light following several weeks of postponements.
Milborne were also without a couple of regular faces and in the opening exchanges it was Upwey that nearly took the lead when Pete Bochonko raced through, only to be denied by a point-blank stop from Neil Innes.
The home side’s back four of Mark Lambert, Carl Tewkesbury, Karl Dean and Ross Heaton stood up well to the pressure and with Cris Pavey threatening at the other end they were more than holding their own.
Upwey continued to probe as the half went on but on 33 minutes they were caught over-committing when Danny Andrews put in a great challenge to send through the predatory McClements, who coolly side-stepped a defender before firing the ball home from 15 yards.
The away side looked stunned but they were soon searching for an equaliser with Innes being forced into another fine save just before the break.
Paul Aston and Jake Heaton were both putting in great shifts in the middle of the park for Sports and the hosts almost went two up when play resumed in the second period, only for Andrews to drive the ball agonisingly wide following excellent build-up play from McClements and Craig Bridle.
That near miss only served to fire up Upwey even more though, and following another bout of pressure they finally got the equaliser they deserved when debutant Charlie May smacked a 25-yard free-kick beyond Innes and into the far corner of the net.
Reynolds’ men now looked destined for victory but Milborne stood firm amidst a succession of corners and free-kicks as some wasteful finishing from the Senior League outfit kept the game on a knife-edge.
The turning point then came on 84 minutes when a disputed free-kick given for handball against Jason Pearce led to Heaton finding the head of McClements, whose deft touch sent the ball flying into the top corner.
Upwey responded by throwing everything forward in the remaining minutes but they were unable to rescue the situation and also lost Bochonko to a red card following an altercation with Andrews.
Reynolds added: “I thought the handball decision against Jason was a bit harsh but even then the goal came from a bit of a defensive error with the keeper calling for it and not getting it, so we can’t really use that as an excuse.
“They took their chances and we didn’t, it was as simple as that.”
Milborne will now meet Poole Town Reserves in the last four on March 9.
Chairman Mike Lathbury said: “The last six minutes were all hands to the pump with substitute Kevin Seal putting in some great tackles and Neil Innes winning the man of the match award with some more heroic keeping.
“It was an historic win for us and to remain the only Division One team left in the semi finals is fantastic.
“All credit must be given to both teams on the day as they provided a very entertaining tussle and a great advert for local football.”