GRANGE ALBION 2
CADOXTON BARRY 3
(after extra time; 2-2 at end of normal time)
ALTHOUGH CB knocked Albion out of the South Wales Senior Cup on one previous occasion, the Cardiff side weren't the force then that they are now.
Albion now lie second in the top division of the South Wales Senior Soccer League and still stand an outside chance of being a Welsh League side by the start of next season.
CB failed to better a top half side in their only season in the First Division so the present Albion side now rank as the highest placed pyramid side that Cadoxton Barry have ever overcome. And it was sheer determination and a never-say-die approach that saw Adam Harvey's men turning the form book on its head to power through to the last four.
CB weathered early pressure before some intricate passing set Adams up for a shot that was easily collected. Then a solo run from Morgan saw him round the 'keeper, but a defender came from seemingly nowhere to make a fantastic headed clearance.
But Albion countered immediately to find a forward with only Davie to beat. However, with the hosts favourite to score, Davie was off his line like a greyhound to clear the ball before the player could pull the trigger. Then another Albion cross spelt danger for CB, but Bickley came to the rescue with a quality clearing header. CB were expected to concede ground against their more illustrious opponents, but were dealing with the pressure admirably.
And they had another chance when a dink into the box saw Adams fire over. But, just when CB were beginning to look as though they had the measure of their hosts, an inauspicious grubber shot found the net via the palms of Davie's hands.
Replacing the injured Thompson, Weekley had hardly been on the pitch for 60 seconds when he received a through ball from Adams. A little dummy and the Albion lead had lasted little more than a minute. And that was the half-time situation.
Davie was soon in action in the second half as he stretched to palm a goalbound effort just over. Then, a clever move saw Adams and Oaten exchange passes for the former to take too heavy a first touch when in a good position. For a moment things became a little heated when Bickley was brutally brought down from behind. But the referee soon cooled things down.
Weekley sent an accurate cross to Morgan whose shot from distance wasn't far over. The game continued to be quite open, bearing in mind the heavy conditions - though Albion still claimed the larger share of possession. However, their shooting became more and more inaccurate as their frustration grew. So, when they did take the lead, it wasn't surprising that it came from a penalty.
Davie pulled off a string of confident saves before Albion seemed to sit back, seemingly content to let their defiant rearguard protect the lead. But Morgan didn't see it like that when, in the final minute of normal time, he received the ball out wide before jinking past three quickfire tackles to slot home off the 'keeper from the narrowest of angles - a quality goal.
It took CB ten minutes to fashion their first opportunity in extra time, a Morgan cross to Adams going over. That was the cue for CB to mount a little of their own pressure in the minutes leading to the extra time break. And that is how things continued at the start of the final 15 minutes. A Morgan cross saw the ball fall to Sam Williams following a bit of pinball in the box. And, from ten yards out, he found the far corner of the net to send players and fans alike ecstatic.
But with a good ten minutes left, there was still a lot of work to do. And do it, CB did, as Walsh, Bickley, Baker and Davie among others showed their metal in protecting the lead.
This was a tremendous all-round team performance, with every player and substitute doing his share to pull off a marvellous cup upset.
It’s back to league action next Saturday when, weather willing, CB host Sporting Marvels in a 2pm Bryn-y-Don kick-off. A win would help to keep outside chances of promotion alive.