East Coker Rangers defeated a spirited Bruton United U9 side 5-1 in the cup semi final.
On a very cold Saturday morning The Rangers would need to be on their toes to defeat a very good Bruton side who have improved each time the sides have met this season.
The early exchanges were a typically tight affair with Bruton shading the possession and attacking fronts, with only strong defensive play from the Rangers backline of Emily Palmer, Jake Ashton, Jack Marles and in particular Charlie Hillier-Nickels in goal. Isabel Hillier-Nickels came the closest to breaking the deadlock when her out stretched leg wasn’t quite long enough to get on the end of a great Joel Trott cross.
The breakthrough eventually came, a through ball from Rocco Sughayer was hit fantastically well first time by Joel Trott, his shot looped over the Bruton United goalkeeper into the near top corner to send The Rangers into a somewhat undeserved 1-0 lead. Parity was soon restored through a great attack from Bruton which saw their centre forward through on goal to steer the ball past Charlie Hillier-Nickels in goal. A cagey few minutes then followed before a defensive mix up between the Bruton goalkeeper and defence to give The Rangers an indirect free kick on the edge of the box. Joel Trott rolled the ball to his right for Rocco Sughayer to curl a powerful shot through a crowded area into the bottom corner to put The Rangers 2-1 up at half time.
At half time The Rangers management team put the emphasis on the next goal, with it being able to swing the game either way. The second half saw a return to The Rangers flowing attacking football from recent weeks with Oliver Frost, Rhys Ashton and Joel Trott combining well to carve out a chance for Jake Ashton to follow up superbly and slam the ball home left footed from close range to make the score 3-1. Shortly after Rocco Sughayer danced his way through the Bruton defensive line to leave him one on one with the Bruton goalkeeper, he opened up his body up brilliantly to steer the ball in the far corner to make it 4-1. East Coker managed to keep the score at 4-1 for the next 10 minutes with Bruton driving forward in search of a second. A fantastic save from Charlie Hillier-Nickels and then Corey Groves coming to the rescue to save a certain goal with a fantastic goal line clearance kept the score the same. The final goal came when Rocco Sughayer hit a fierce volley over the away goalkeeper to round off the scoring and complete his hat-trick.
Charlie Hillier-Nickels claimed the man of the match award with a string fantastic saves in goal and a very confident overall display which even earned plaudits from the Bruton United management team.
A great team display overall and a much deserved second cup final in a row. Well done to everyone and thank you to the parents, friends and family for their continued support.
East Coker now progress to the cup final on April 29th at Somerton against a very good Aller Park Rovers. Only a strong performance will be enough to lift the trophy.