GFA Minor Cup Semi-Final

Thornbury Baptists 1 Helios 0

THORNBURY Baptists progressed to their first cup Final in nine years after a composed Steve Nash strike proved enough to defeat a talented Helios side at GFA headquarters in Almondsbury on Saturday.

The game was switched to the 3G surface and a late kick-off under lights after consecutive washouts in previous weeks.

The expansive, slick surface seemed to suit Thornbury the better with playmaker Jack Spence pulling the strings and James Hancox and Steve Clare enjoying plenty of freedom on the flanks.

Thornbury had a hearty wind behind them in the first half and enjoyed the majority of possession with Nash and Spence both firing wide early on.

After just 16 minutes, a corner from skipper Jimmy Cooke on the right was cleared only to the feet of Spence and he squared the pass for Steve Nash to slot the ball into the top-right corner with a cool finish under pressure from several on-rushing defenders.

Thornbury dominated the physical battle with Elliott Millard and Nic Tymko winning everything in the air all night and Jake Alker found himself in a new role marauding forward from right back on several occasions.

s Ash Tuck and Jimmy Cooke were both unable to convert good chances from Alker crosse and Thornbury knew the lead was fragile going into the second half.

Helios came out all guns blazing as both sides fancied their chances of a cup final place.

David Lane made an important save at the feet of the Helios striker on the hour mark and at the other end Josh Skinner headed a corner over the bar when most would have bet on him finding the net.

As time ticked down, manager Chris Beddoes introduced substitutes to good effect and Thornbury moved to a five-man midfield to see the game to a close.

The defence held out for an impressive and deserved clean sheet and Thornbury move on to a special opportunity for some prestigious silverware.

The final is scheduled for Monday, April 7 (7.30pm) at Oaklands Park.

Manager Chris Beddoes said: "This will be a special day for the players and is great for the club, the church and all the other teams in the BCFA, who I know will be behind us on the day."