On Saturday the Badgers travelled into the Derbyshire dales to face the Division One Central league leaders in the Challenge Cup. It was never going to be an easy game, especially in the wet and windy conditions.
United started well, recycling the ball from the defence through to the midfield. They wanted to get a feel for how the opposition was going to play. Mlynarski started eagerly sprinting down the left hand side, he beat three players but didn’t have enough room to supply a cross. Cromford looked like they were trying to penetrate through the middle, however Abdulla was there to break up their attack nearly every time. One challenge from Danny led to the opener as on the 10th minute West rounded the keeper and put it in the empty net. A great start to the game!
The Badgers nearly got a second five minutes later as Mlynarski continued to cause trouble down the left flank, this time he did get the cross in. The low ball was dummied by West and ended up at the back post where Conway couldn’t get his foot to it. Conway got another chance in the 26th minute, but his shot went just wide. Just as it looked like we would go into halftime with the lead, Cromford won a very controversial penalty. Luke Smith seemed to win the ball, but the referee must have disagreed. Cromford converted the penalty.
After a poor end to the first half, the Badgers pushed on to get the lead in the second half. Daughtrey and Fusco replaced Lawrence and Mlynarski, which meant that the Badgers now had three forwards on the pitch. Paling and Daughtrey put in great crosses from the right flank but neither was converted. Cromford had 9 players behind the ball, relying on their striker getting a chance on the counter. Although it didn’t get into our half, all the play was in Cromford’s half. Barlow broke into the box on the 64th minute, but he dragged his shot wide. The goal didn’t come until the 84th minute, when Luke Smith played a lofted ball over for Mark West to volley it into the net. Two minutes after the goal, West had a chance to make it a Hat-trick as the Badgers got a penalty. West smashed it into the goal and increased the lead to two.
The ref blew the whistle and after a frustrating game the Badgers were in the hat for the next round of the Challenge cup thanks to a Mark West Hat-trick. Mark was given Man of the Match well deservedly, a superb performance after being out injured. The next game is against Collingham this Friday at their ground, 7:45 KO!
“Up the Badgers”