Football: Haddrell fires Thistleberry to county cup final
AFC Thistleberry survived a glut of goalmouth scares to book their place in a first county cup final.
Ryan Haddrell put the Potteries League Division Two side ahead inside two minutes of the start against John Marston in a Staffs FA Sunday Challenge Trophy semi-final.
It was expected that the strike would spark a legion of goals similar to when Thistleberry won a league encounter between the mid-table rivals 4-3 last month.
Instead, golden chances came and went at both ends to leave hearts in mouths for the remaining 88 or so minutes.
Thistleberry will now take on Uttoxeter League Division Three title-chasers Anchor Athletic in a showdown for the silverware.
"It was a strange semi-final," said Thistleberry club president Stephen Winder.
"Ryan scored a good poacher's effort very early and we sat back expecting the goals to keep flooding in, but that just wasn't the case.
"It was a ferocious match, and quite unbelievable that no more goals were scored. Both teams missed open goals, but we stuck it out to go through."
Thistleberry, coached by ex-Knypersley Vics midfielder Gary Stribling, are now 90 minutes away from emulating Shamblers Reserves' Challenge Trophy heroics from last season.
Baddeley Green WMC have hauled themselves to within three points of leaders Sneyd in the Premier Division. Goals from Phil Parkes, Joel Stair, Alex Wright, Mike Edwards and Chris Shenton set up a 5-1 win at Cheadle United, who replied through Paul Callear.
Green still boast a game in hand on Tom Pope's pacesetters, but have a worse goal difference.
Cheadle remain on minus-three points at the other end of the table and are now further adrift of third-bottom Loggerheads, who beat Grapes Newchapel 2-0.
Paul Ridley and Nathan Dyer found the net in Loggerheads' third win of the campaign.
Adderley Green tore up the form book to smash eight past Grange Park Rangers in Division One, with Hugh White grabbing a hat-trick.
Simon Barker and Matt Cockfield both helped themselves to braces and Dave Ottley was also on the scoresheet as sixth-placed Green ripped apart the team in second.
Sam Lovatt scored the consolation for Rangers, who trail New Finney Gardens by a point at the top.
Chesterton Youth Club won the derby against Chesterton AFC 2-1 thanks to goals from Mikey Whitter and Jake Donaldson. Michael Wright replied in the second half.
Adam Bradley smashed in two as Shamblers Reserves beat Cheadle United Reserves 5-1, while Lee Summerfield scored the lot in Goldenhill's 3-0 win over Social Services.
Blythe Bridge Town won 2-1 at home against Longton Ashwood with goals from Jim Hansla and Lee Davies.
Queens Head and Gillow Heath are through to the Division One and Division Two Cup semi-finals respectively.
Liam Rigby got two as Queens upset the odds to beat Knutton Matthey 6-3 while Leigh Skellern and Jon Steventon nabbed two each in Heath's 4-1 win at Windmill Werrington.
Milton Wanderers climbed to second in Division Two with a 2-0 win over Bignall End and Fulford United are fourth after a good 2-1 win over Keele University.
In the Veterans Division, Wayne Corden scored a hat-trick in Wellington's 5-1 win at Travellers Rest and Shamblers moved 13 points clear by recovering to beat Adderley Green 2-1.