Ormer FC showed their battling qualities, as opposed to their usual attractive pass and move football, that has earned them such great accolades in the UK. The Guernsey lads had to hustle and bustle their way through this Junior Premier League national quarter final cup match.
Ormer played the unbeaten Rushden & Diamonds with the game being played in The Diamonds own back yard in Northampton. The preparation was less than ideal for Ormer, as fog had meant a delayed flight, a two hour drive and very little warm up time. To add to Ormers woes and just before kick-off, the referee bizarrely saw some kind of kit clash which confused both teams, as The Diamonds were in their traditional white kit and Ormer donning their all red kit, being the away team Ormer were asked to wear bibs.
The game finally got under way and started at a frantic pace, with both teams not giving an inch to the other. There was to be an early goal in the scrappy opening five minutes and it went to the Ormer boys. The ball was driven into the midfield where Alex Roussel leapt with a powerful and precise header to send Keene Domaille through on goal. The strong running Domaille stormed clear and showed his usual class in front of goal, with loads of composure he smashed the ball into the far corner, 1.0 Ormer.
Rushden were looking to get back into the match through their electric heeled striker Thomas Curry, who was starting to cause problems to the Ormer defenders. It would be Curry who would get the first sight of Ormers goal after outstripping the defence again, only to pull his first time shot wide.
Brandon Wallace hit a bullet of a shot that smashed the underside of the bar and came back out, Domaille was quickest to react as the ball flew up off the ground and he headed first time, again the ball crashed the underside of the bar, but this time it rippled high into the roof of the net, 2.0 Ormer after 21 minutes.
The only other real chance of any note in the first half was when Curry skipped clear on the angle and put the ball on a plate for Josh Wootton to fire home, only the Ormer defenders had other ideas and somehow managed to clear the ball off the line and to safety. This brought the half to an end, without too many goal scoring opportunities being created, but Ormer would lead 2.0 at the interval.
The second half would got under way in similar fashion to the first, with both teams working overtime to stop the other in possession. Domaille would be the first player to try his luck in the second half with a shot from 20 yards out, Charlie Nixon in the Diamonds goal would watch as the ball went just past his far post. The game was starting to get stretched as both sides went for it in a classic hard fought cup tie.
Rushden’s Curry cut inside his man and hit a low stinger, which the impressive Ormer Keeper Jack Hamon got down well to hold. With the game see-sawing from end to end, it was Wallace who curled a shot trying to catch Nixon out, but he was equal to the chance and then had to make a double save to keep Domaille’s effort out.
Ben Stevens went on a barnstorming run down the right and played a neat 1-2 with Finley Du Port, which sent him through on goal, he entered Rushden’s area and cracked a shot that gave Nixon no chance to react as the ball bulged the net, 3.0 Ormer after 45 minutes. Not long after the re-start and The Diamonds were back in the game from their go-to-man Curry. He rolled Jamie Smith about 20 yards out and hit a wonder strike into the far top corner of Hamon’s net to make it 3.1 after 47 minutes.
Rushden started to chase the game and were almost rewarded straight away, as Thomas Long hit a fizzing shot, which Hamon dealt with comfortably. Any hope of a Rushden revival was well and truly extinguished as Ormer came up with goal of the game. Du Port started what would turn out to be a brilliant team goal, as he flicked the ball out to Stevens, who passed through two players into the path of Domaille, he jinked past a defender and passed outside of the boot to Joe Adams, Adams showed fantastic hold up play under pressure inside Rushden’s area, before just rolling the ball at perfect pace to the oncoming Wallace to fire home. This goal showed all the best attributes of Ormers pass and move football, which was only evident in patches due to the nature of a pulsating cup battle, 4.1 Ormer 56 minutes.
Rushden showed why they are unbeaten all season, as they came straight back at Ormer again. Ralph Morrow drove a shot that was blocked by the Ormer defence, only for Josh Wootton to get his knee on the ball, which found its way into the net 4.2 after 59 minutes, game on again with ten minutes left on the watch.
The tie would turn again into a total battle, as both sets of players would leave nothing out of any tackle and had those watching engrossed in every play. Ormer Keeper Hamon would keep filling his team with confidence at every opportunity, as his handling and footwork was nothing short of inch perfect. Half chances would come and go for both teams, but almost on the full time whistle, Ormer would secure their place in this season’s semi-finals. More good work down the right from Stevens, picked out Du Port inside the box and his first time shot across Nixon was well saved, but he could only push the ball out to the pouching Brandon Weysom, who finished from close range 5.2 Ormer full time. Ormer now move onto a semi-final berth against inform cup team Hereford FC, which will be played at the neutral venue of Evesham United Football Club on March 18th.