HERTS UNDER-13 COUNTY CUP SEMI-FINAL
EAGLES 1-4 HARVESTERS (NORTH)
EAGLES’ brilliant cup run ended in disappointment.
But Harvesters, the winners of the under-12 competition last year, were simply strongers, fasters, betters.
Although all the visitors’ goals owed plenty to mistakes from Royston, the St Albans side were well worth their win.
Maybe it would have been different if Eagles had scored first after an opening period in which they had plenty of defending to do but seemed to be matching their opponents.
But after 20 minutes Harvesters were given the chance to cross from the right and one of their two enormous players headed home emphatically.
Royston’s only glimpses of goal in the first half came when Anthony Georgiou and Kian Harness harried the well-organised back line of their opponents.
An equaliser almost came when Georgiou forced a decent save and Harness’ effort on the follow-up was cleared off the line.
But just when you thought “keep it to 1-0 at half time”, the other big man (and he looked like one) made it two seconds before the break.
The next goal was going to be crucial. Harvesters came close, hitting the bar and then the post in quick succession.
When they did find their third, however, it was a soft-looking effort from their massive No 9, whose shot eluded five or so Eagles players before nestling in the net.
Georgiou’s header forced the Harvesters’ goalkeeper into his first meaningful save as Eagles kept battling against the odds.
But another mistake led to the visitors grabbing a fourth.
Royston at least ended on a high. The sheer guts they had showed against well-organised, talented and very “streetwise” opponents deserved a goal, and Archie Macleod grabbed it.
Man of the match Harness picked himself up after yet another foul by Harvesters’ gifted but naughty No 5, clipped in a fine free kick and saw Macleod force the ball home.
It was easily the highlight of a match in which Eagles could not raise their game to match the occasion or the opposition.
But they can be very proud of a fantastic run to the last four. The win at Hormead, who are otherwise unbeaten this season, and the quarter-final victory over Stotfold will live long in the memory.
The team, though, must now look forward, learn from this defeat and focus on winning the League Cup semi final.
Team: Jacob McGlynn, Conor Caughtry, Jacob Schroeder, Ethan Karpuk, Sam Fage, Will Hamblin, Sean Blois, Archie Macleod, Logan Downie, Anthony Georgiou, Kian Harness, Owen Maslen, George Palmer.