[source: Norstar United]
Sunday 11th September 2016
FC Cumberland 0-4 Norstar United
In the first round proper of this seasons Munro Cup, it was division 2 side Norstar United who progressed to the next round, at the expense of premier league outfit FC Cumberland.
The sides previous two meetings have both been tight affairs, and probably with the underdog tag hanging over their heads, Norstar had some scores to settle. Manager Danny Cutsforth was critical of his side last week, saying they started too slow, despite eventually running out 9-1 winners. This week however, would be very different.
After just a few seconds of the game, Norstar made their intentions clear with an immediate intense pressing style. Some hard work from Tim Holmes forced the home side to cough up possession. Jack Humphries had the vision to slide the ball through for Connor Waston, who expertly tucked the ball into the back of the net. Not a minute on the clock and Norstar lead 1-0.
Chances came thick and fast for the away team. Tim Holmes found himself clean through on goal, however he failed to deal with the bouncing ball and blazed his effort high over the bar. Moments later, he was in again, as he latched onto a Connor Watson through ball. Undecided wether to shoot or cross, he eventually smashed the ball right across the face of the goal.
Holmes was replaced by James Richmond, who was keen to make an impression after being left on the bench. After Nathan Malek won a terrific header from a goal kick, Richmond produced an inch perfect no-look pass, splitting the defence and leaving Watson with just the keeper to beat. Just as he did for the first, he calmly stroked the ball into the net, and doubled Norstar’s lead.
The home side were clearly rattled, and were struggling to string two passes together. A series of fouls followed in the run up to half time, as Cumberland became increasingly frustrated by the much fitter Norstar side. The half time whistle sounded and the score was Cumberland 0 Norstar United 2.
The second half began with the hosts coming out with three up front. They managed to carve out a few crossing opportunities, without really testing Nathan Barr in the Norstar goal. It was in fact the visitors who had the first real chance of the half, as Callum Holmes was fouled on the edge of the box. Lewis Jones stepped up and curled a beautiful strike towards the top corner, however the ball flew narrowly wide.
Just as happened in the first half, the home side were clearly wound up at their poor showing, and continually disrupted the flow of the game with some cynical fouls, resulting in their centre forward picking up a yellow card. The much younger Norstar side showed terrific maturity, and just continued to play some terrific football.
The Cumberland defence, which had looked shaky for the full game, self destructed after 70 minutes. Their centre half passing the ball towards his own goal, unaware of the on rushing Watson. He intercepted the pass, sat the keeper on his backside and walked the ball into the goal. Hat trick for Watson, and surely game over.
Norstar rang the changes in a bid to protect their lead, and make shift winger Ryan Langton almost scored an unlikely goal. With Richmond beating his man on the left wing, all he had to do was square the ball, and Langton had a tap in. He made a complete hash of the pass, and the hosts got away with one.
Substitute Jake Bristow provided the next opportunity for United. Receiving a ball from man of the match Lewis Jones, he beat two men and passed the ball to Watson. Watson eased past a couple more defenders, before slotting into the bottom corner. The full time whistle followed just a few minutes after, and Norstar had claimed yet another victory against higher ranked opponents. 4-0 the final score.
This was a thoroughly one sided affair, with Cumberland unable to create any real chances. The back three of Ashley Biglin, James Stainton and Luke Fyvie are forming a formidable defensive platform and never looked like conceding. Callum Holmes continued his fine form, and was aided by the returning Jack Humphries, both were very impressive. Connor Watson and Tim Holmes can do no wrong at the minute, and things are looking very promising for Norstar. Next up is an away trip to league rivals AFC Rosebourne.
Norstar United squad; Pat Alston, Nathan Barr, Ashley Biglin, Jake Bristow, Danny Cutsforth, Luke Fyvie, Callum Holmes, Tim Holmes, Jack Humphries, Lewis Jones, Ryan Langton, Nathan Malek, James Richmond, James Stainton, Connor Watson, Aidan Welham.