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Revolution reach cup final in first season!!!

Jon Ryan-Gill  Thursday, March 07, 2002  15:49 GMT

Ilmington Revolution 4 - 2 Campden Town Reserves (Division 2 KO Cup, Semi-Final)
Shearman 35 ............................................... A midfielder 24
Ryan-Gill, J 41 (pen) .................................... A forward 79 (pen)
Ryan-Gill, M 52 .............................................
Brassington 57 .............................................

Team (4-4-2):

1, Darren Betts
2, Harry Jolly (Sub. 72 for Gary Banner)
3, Matt Burgin
4, Jon Ryan-Gill
5, James Bishton (cpt.)
7, Matt Ryan-Gill
8, Jono Wright
9, James Shearman
10, Steve Brassington
11, Matt Petty
16, Will Sallis

12: Jim Connolly
14: Iain Lythall
15: Gary Banner (Sub. 72 for Harry Jolly)

Man of the Match: James Shearman

Managers Notes

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since my last report but having just finished my professional exams, I'm back on track with this management / website editing lark. The semi-final against Campden Town Reserves, did look in doubt last weekend due to the heavy rainfall earlier that week. The condition of the playing surface around both goalmouths and centre circle area, was extremely muddy. However, following a relatively dry end to the week and late pitch inspection, the fixture was given the go ahead by league ref Billy Gowers.

Another week and yet more injuries and absentees restricting my choice of a starting eleven. Ever present WIll Haines, had to miss his first game due to a bout of the flu, Jono Openshaw was suffering with a broken hand and Pete Dawson still had a jarred knee following a collision during the Henley game. Additionally, our previous weeks Man-of-the-Match, Rich "Paolo Milkiniho" James was checking out the punani (and AC / Inter "Derby" match) in Milan, having won a competition.

This meant a return to the first team starting line-up at centre half for myself (in the unfamiliar No. 4 shirt), having decided to loan the No. 9 shirt to a striker whilst in defence. Jono Wright also returned after absence, to fill in at right-back and looked extremely competent. Harry Jolly continued at right midfield with Matt Petty dropping back to the left wing having spent a couple of weeks in attack. The big change came, through the return of powerhouse forward James Shearman, who partnered the talented Steve Brassington in attack.

Campden pressed forward from the kick-off with their midfield pushing on at every opportunity. The Revolution's back-line  held strong in muddy conditions, after solid defending from Wright, Matt Burgin and skipper, James Bishton. Ilmington's attacking potential was limited for the first twenty minutes, however we did gradually found our level on the half hour mark. Campden open the scoring, slightly against the run of play from a set piece when Bishton, was adjudged to have fouled a Campden forward after a clearance. A quick free-kick was taken by their midfield, as the wall was setting up, and Darren Betts was caught in the mud, as the ball squirmed into the bottom right corner.

Nevertheless, Ilmington battled back bravely and chances came from Brassington and in particularly Shearman, who ran at the Campden defence. The scores were levelled at one a piece, when Shearman outjumped one of Campden's defender and the keeper off a corner to head home his first goal for the club. The Rev, then took the lead after some good work by Petty and Brassington resulted in a penalty being awarded. I (JRG), stepped up to hit home the second, marking my return to first team action with my 8th goal of the season. Despite further pressure from the Rev's front two the score remained 2-1 at half time.

The second half kicked off to an explosive pace as Ilmington, fresh from their teamtalk knew that they were only 45 minutes from the final and a chance of silverware. We went 3-1 up, when a cross from the left by Petty, rolled accross the face of goal, and was handled by a Campden defender. Referee, John Williams let play continue and Matt Ryan-Gill, followed up to notch his 4th goal of the season from point blank range. 3-1 soon became 4-1, when Shearman again unleashed a through ball to Brassington who rounded the Campden keeper and slotted home a left footed shot, his first this season.

The Revolution continued to press forward with Petty, Shearman and Brassington well supported by MGR and Will Sallis in the middle of the park. Wright took the opportunity to get forward on one accassion, exposing the Campden left back and following tricky footwork was brought down just inside the box. A moment of controversy followed as Jono Wright was allowed (in a moment of madness by me) to take the penalty. At 4-1 we did seem to be home and dry, but Wright tried to place it to the keepers left instead of blast it, and the shot was at a comfortable height for the keeper to save.

Ilmington's defence sat deep for the last twenty mintues marshelled by Bishton and myself, with Burgin supporting Sallis to the left of midfield. Campden were awarded a penalty with ten minutes left, when the ball was contoversially adjudged to have hit my elbow. The spot-kick was duly converted to make the score 4-2, however, it was all too little too late. Gary Banner was introduced late in the game for Jolly on the left wing and got stuck into the action after some strong persuasion and the game finished with the Revolution reaching the cup final.

Overall, it was a great all-round team performance, with notable performances from Wright, Brassington and Shearman. At last, we seem to have a forward partnership that will score goals, with players returning from injury or elsewhere it will be a difficult task for me now, to keep everyone involved. For the first time this season I have a surplus of quality players to choose from. However, places for the cup final squad are up for grabs, no-one is guaranteed a place so everyone shall have the opportunity between now and then to stake a claim. In the meantime, lets remain focused on the league and our remaining 6 matches, that could see us finish 3rd.

I'm confident the team, we fielded last Saturday could hold their own against any team in this league, with James Shearman looking like a real top striker. Let's repeat the performance against Campden this Saturday in the league.

Well done!



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