Football: Thornbury Baptists reach semi-final after late Nichols winner

BCFA Shield Quarter-Final

Castle Green Reserves 3 Thornbury Baptists 4

THORNBURY progressed to a cup semi-final for the first time in seven years after an extremely tough contest against Castle Green Reserves at Whitehall.

Baptists started the game as favourites but found themselves two goals down after half-an-hour when basic errors in midfield and in defence allowed the hosts to capitalise.

At the other end James Hancox and Ash Tuck both had chances to test the Castle Green goalkeeper but despite some concerted spells of pressure from The Baps, Castle Green were worthy of their lead.

Thornbury pulled one back before half-time when skipper Jimmy Cooke chanced his left foot from 25 yards and the strike ricocheted against a defender to wrong-foot the goalkeeper and get Thornbury back in the game.

It was 2-1 at half-time, though, and manager Chris Beddoes was animated to say the least.

Beddoes responded by introducing himself and Jac Rogers as substitutes and his team responded with a much more committed second-half display.

Beddoes was fouled on 55 minutes to allow Hancox to convert the spot kick and level the scores.

The game became a fervent and aggressive contest with both sides anxious to compete for some rare silverware.

Castle Green again went in front, though, this time a mistake from Cooke allowing the striker to pounce and finish past Kerien Austin, who impressed in goal for Thornbury.

As the game edged towards a close, it took a gift of an own goal to level it as a Josh Skinner free-kick was unwittingly headed past his own keeper by a hapless defender.

The goal really buoyed Thornbury and they struck again just minutes before the end when a Tuck shot was only parried straight into the path of Sam Nichols arriving from midfield to steal the win.

Thornbury await clarification of the semi-final opponents and can look forward to a home fixture with Castle Green firsts immediately after the New Year.

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