Results
 

Tommie's Guns (Eng)

1

V

0

Hangover 96 (Eng)

Coverton Road (Eng)

0

v

1

Fail Madrid (Eng)

Rayford Athletic (Eng)

0*

V

0

DHFC (Eng)

9 Nana Budds (Eng)

2

V

1

FC Auslander (Ger)

* Rayford Athletic won 2-1 on penalties.
 

We arrived at the Plate Quarter-Final stage and we would shortly see eight teams reduced to four teams. Tommie's Guns would meet Hangover 96. The pre-determined draw meant the 3rd best 3rd placed team would meet the best 6th placed team with the former being Tommie's Guns who would be favourites going into this game.

In a strange twist of fate the two teams had met earlier in the day in Group A. It was Tommie's Guns who emerged victorious in the previous encounter as they ran out 3-0 victors. A repeat would do them just fine especially for Chris and Pat Vernall who scored in that game.

It would be natural to assume history would repeat itself but this was a much closer contest than the previous encounter. We reached half-time with nothing to separate the two teams. In the second half, as hard as the teams tried it looked like we would have stalemate and the spectre of a penalty shoot-out loomed. The game then hinged on one crucial moment.

Tommie's Guns were attacking and produced a fine save from Chris Taylor the ball rebounded about 10 yards out in the centre of the goal. Luke Materacki arrived right on queue to thunder the ball goalwards only to see his effort superbly saved on the line but not by the hand of goalkeeper Chris Taylor but by the hand of defender Luke Napper. It was a stunning save but one that would earn a red card despite the tongue in cheek protests.

Luke Materacki stepped up to take the penalty and fired his team into the Semi-Finals.

 
 
 

As the rain came down, the second Semi-Final saw Coverton Road take on Fail Madrid as 4th place from Group A would take on 5th Place from Group B.

Coverton Road would no doubt be favourites for this game as they had the higher finish in their group and the higher points tally in the group. Coverton Road left it late in Group A but they finished it off in style with a 4-0 win and would take some momentum into this fixture but they would see Fail Madrid take the lead in the first half through Adam Avery with his first goal of the tournament. It was a lead Fail Madrid were to retain at the interval.

Fail Madrid had experienced a tough start to the morning but their form had picked up towards the end of the group stage and although suffered 4 defeats a couple were only by the odd goal to two teams who qualified for the Cup so they had certainly been competitive without being able to take the points they would have wanted. They had the lead here and they were determined to hold on to it. Fail Madrid were unable to extend their lead but crucially they kept a clean sheet that meant it would be them and not Coverton Road advancing to the next stage.

 
 
 

We'd had two very close Quarter-Finals so far and the third Quarter-Final was to be no different as we saw Rayford Athletic meet DHFC.

Rayford Athletic came into the game as slight favourites due to a higher placed finish in their group, a higher points tally (7 to 4), more goals scored (8 to 4) but they had conceded more (11 to 7) and the teams had the same goal difference. On the pitch there was nothing to separate the two teams.

The first half came and went with the teams locked at 0-0. The second half came and went and we were still level at 0-0. We would have our first penalty shoot-out of the day.

It was DHFC to strike first but it still seemed that no-one wanted to score (we acknowledge the stupid phrase - of course they wanted to, they were unable to). Tom Holder who had already scored twice today was unable to convert but luckily for him and DHFC neither was Andrew Key for Rayford Athletic. The goal drought continued as Rayford Athletic goalkeeper Aaron Allibon was still unbeaten after DHFC's second kick. We finally had a goal when Daniel Key converted and put his team in control, 1-0 up with 1 penalty each to come.

Ben Swinbourne stepped forward for DHFC and he simply had to score to keep his team in it and he did. It forced Rayford Athletic to score their final spot-kick to advance. Up stepped Ross Bennett to take on Ben Ashman the goal scorer defeated the goal keeper and Rayford Athletic were through 2-1 on penalties.

 
 
 

Three Quarter-Finals down, one to go as 9 Nana Budds would play FC Auslander. 9 Nana Budds were in unfamiliar territory playing in the Plate for the first time after 3 successive Cup appearances. For a team so used to Cup qualification this was a particularly tough task mentally as often teams can struggle with the disappointment of not making the Cup and see their form unravel. There is no better example than that of Olympic Phil Babb who won their first four tournaments in our competitions before failing to qualify for the Cup in their fifth outing at the 2012 Mallorca Tournament. In their Plate Quarter-Final they crashed out to a team they would usually have beaten comfortably.

FC Auslander had already bettered their performance from last season where they played for the Wooden Spoon. Could they continue their progression? It would be a tough ask against 9 Nana Budds but one they took to admirably. So far, there had just been 2 goals in the 3 Quarter-Finals to show how evenly matched the teams were. This game also looked like it could be decided by fine margins. There was just one goal in it at the break Jack Kennedy scored it and 9 Nana Budds lead 1-0 at half-time.

The two teams exchanged goals in the second half with John Mastel on target for 9 Nana Budds and Kevin O'Shea on target for FC Auslander. Going into the final passages of play 9 Nana Budds lead 2-1 and it was a lead they were to see out and ensure progression to the Plate Semi-Finals where they would meet Rayford Athletic.

 
 
 
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