Cinderford Town 1
A SPIRITED and determined Cinderford Town pushed Southern League leaders Leamington all the way before quality shone through as the Brakes marched into the semi-finals of the Red Insure Cup.
The Foresters gave a superb account of themselves in Wednesday's quarter-final at the New Windmill Ground and took a deserved lead after a superb first-half display.
New signing Kieran Thomas – a Forest native who has joined the club on work experience from Cheltenham Town – had to be alert to clear the ball off the line in the opening exchanges.
But Cinderford grew into the game and began to create chances and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 26 minutes when Ashley Malcolm headed home at the far post.
But the Brakes improved in the second period and Richard Batchelor fired a warning shot across the Cinderford goal in the early moments of the half.
Matt Barnes fired a strike over the bar for Cinderford, while former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore struck a post with a curling drive as Leamington pressed.
The rebound from Moore's effort was cleared but returned with interest and after Ricky Johnson played Moore in again, this time he made no mistake to slot past Alex Harris.
Harris denied Moore with a superb save but the Foresters were finally broken down on the hour mark when Greg Lewis was adjudged to have handled in the box and Richard Batchelor struck the ball home.
And the same player made the game safe for the hosts with a spectacular third goal in the second minute of injury time, sprinting clear to fire emphatically past Harris.
Leamington: N Cooper, M Naylor, T James, C Owen, J Hood, L Daly, L Moore, L Chilton, S Moore (J Mace 86), Ricky Johnson (J Husband 65), R Batchelor (J Tiff 90), Subs not used: S Morley, D Ward.
Cinderford Town: A Harris, K Thomas, M Smith (D Haines 73), W Archer, G Lewis, J Camm (J Emery 65), M Barnes, D Evans, S O'Sullivan, L Smith, A Malcolm.
â Cinderford return to action in Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South and West when they make the trip to Ladysmead to face Tiverton Town tomorrow.