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Redcar Athletic's outstanding season continued as they booked a cup final place, on their travels, on Saturday.

By Andrew McElvaney

Redcar Athletic progressed to the final of the Wearside League Cup after battling to a close fought victory under the ruins of Richmond Castle. A stunning goal gave Redcar Athletic the lead on 13 minutes, when Richmond Town only cleared a cross into their penalty to Joe ferguson 25 yards out and he played the ball back into the path of the "steaming in" CHRIS BIVENS, who let fly with a ferocious low drive, which almost uprooted the goal from the pitch as it flew into the back of the left hand side of the net. No sooner than Redcar Athletic scored, an Air Ambulance started to circle the pitch at low altitude and it looked like it was going land on the pitch, as it was learnt that there had been a severe accident at Richmond Castle. However after about 15 minutes or so of circling the Air Ambulance flew off as the normal ambulance was able to resolve the situation. Meanwhile back on the pitch the game continued on and Richmond Town almost equalised in the 19th minute with what would have been a freakish goal. Chris Bivens powerful low headed clearance hit Richmond Town striker Mark Sims fully in the back as he turned and flew just an inch or so over Redcar Athletic's crossbar, with keeper Matthew Berry stranded. In the 26th minute Joe Ferguson's corner kick in was met on the volley by Sam Webster in the "D" of the area and his effort crashed off the crossbar. The Richmond Town defence could only clear the rebound to Joe Bennett on the edge of the area and his shot struck the hand of a defender in the area, which the referee believed to be deliberate and blew for a penalty much to the shock of the home side. ANDY JENNINGS made no mistake from the spot, planting his shot past keeper Karl Latcham, who had dived correctly to his left, to equal James Kesterton's club record of 44 goals in a season. It was almost 3-0 in the 33rd minute as Redcar Athletic, who were now dominating the game with Sam Webster running the defeders ragged and it was a great run down the left by him in which he then played in Chris Atkinson, who fired in a vicious cross-shot which keeper Karl Latham just flapped away from under the angle of the crossbar and left hand post. Richmond Town came close to equalising twice in the final minute of the half and deep into injury time. In the 45th minute a cross in from left was flicked on by Mark Sims and Sam Joyce met it with a powerful downward goalbound header which brought out a stunning save with Matthew Berry somehow deflecting the ball over his crossbar with his outstretched left foot. The 3 minutes into injury time Mark Sims was brought down 30 yards out from goal and Kalumn Holbrook curled a powerful free kick over the wall only to see Matthew Berry dive fully to his left to fingertip the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner.

H-T Richmond Town 1 Redcar Athletic 2

The end of the 1st half had given Richmond Town some hope back that they could rescue the game back and they came at Redcar Athletic right from the start of the 2nd half. However this all out attack tactic almost cost Richmond Town going 3-0 down in the 53rd minute when Kristian Kamara's pass found Christopher Atkinson on the edge of area and his shot just fizzed past the right hand post. On the hour mark Richmond Town were awarded a free kick on the edge of Redcar Athletic's penalty area and this time KALUMN HOLBROOK gave keeper Matthew Berry no chance of saving his free kick, by planting an unstoppable effort into the top left corner of the net. Redcar Athletic defended brilliantly for the almost the next half hour as Richmond Town lay siege and also managed a few forays of their own at the home's defence. But there was a dramatic last couple of minutes to come as Richmond Town came within fractions of finding an equaliser to take the game into extra time. with just 2 minutes remaining Kalumn Holbrook picked a loose ball 25 yards out from goal and let fly with a vicious rising shot which crashed off the middle of Redcar Athletic's crossbar. Then right on 90 minutes Redcar Athletic conceded a free kick 20 yards out from goal giving Richmond Town Man of the Match Kalumn Holbrook another opportunity to equalise and he had looked to have done so when curling a lovely well taken free kick over the wall, only for Redcar Athletic Man of the Match, keeper Matthew Berry, to claw it from under the top right hand corner of the goal and round for a corner kick. Redcar Athletic cleared the corner kick and held out through the 5 minutes of injury time to win the battle in the 90 minutes denying Richmond Town into taking into 30 minute of extra time.

F-T Richmond Town 1 Redcar Athletic 3


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