Johnshaven made their first semi final appearance in 9 years on Saturday when they travelled to Kaimhill to face what was a very strong University side.
Manager Williams twinkled with his formation a little bit starting with a 4-5-1 in order to try flood the midfield, but it backfired in the early stages of the game as the home team moved the ball around quickly and efficiently as Hood appeared isolated up top. Johnshaven did have an early chance when N. MacLaren found Hood with a through ball, but the strikers chip over the keeper went wide of the post.
In the 15th minute the home team took the lead. A free kick from 35 yards out was curled high into the box, and as the goalkeeper came out to punch, an opposition player got his head to it first to flick the ball into the empty net. 1-0
Johnshaven nearly grabbed a goal back immediately when R. Blease put the onrushing Beedie in on goal, but his effort was saved brilliantly by the RGU keeper. The resulting corner was taken my Myers and although R. Blease won the header, his effort was cleared off the line.
In the 23rd minute a seemingly harmless ball was put across Johnshaven’s 6 yard line, and a miscommunication between an outfield player and the goalkeeper results in a midfielder chesting the ball into an empty net. 2-0.
Things got worse just a couple minutes later when captain Scott had to come off injured. He was replaced by Rausch who found himself in an unfamiliar right back role.
Johnshaven were 2 goals down and although both goals came with an element of luck, it was nothing less than RGU deserved as they continued to dominate possession and were wasteful of chances although keeper Phillip had a couple of great saves to keep the away team in the tie.
Johnshaven changed to a more attacking and familiar 4-4-2 formation when Myers was pushed up front and Beedie went out right . The move immediately repaid rewards and Athletic were given a life line just on the stroke of half time when a Hood cross was parried by the goalkeeper and Luke Myers anticipated to head home. Half Time Score 2-1
Johnshaven sensed a chance to get themselves back in the game and put the home team under immense pressure at the beginning of the second half. A free kick from N .MacLaren was brilliantly saved the home keeper, and winger Smith had a ferocious drive go just wide of the post. In the 67th minute Darren Cruickshank replaced Tom Dalgarno.
In the 70th minute keeper Phillip made a point blank save from a header. 2 Minutes later RGU earned a free kick just on the edge of the box. The RGU striker took it and buried it low around the wall giving the keeper no chance. In the 78th minute Lawrence Slavin replaced the injured Lee Hood.
RGU made sure of the victory in the 81st minute. A ball was crossed high to the edge of the box by an RGU winger, and in a ‘Zidane-esque’ finish the ball sailed into the top corner.
Johnshaven were well beaten by a very good side who will no doubt be in the premier league in years to come. But it serves as a reminder to players and staff of Johnshaven just how far we still have to go to reach where the club wants to be. Score 4-1
Team: Grant Philip, Robert Tringham, Jack Dalgarno, Steven Scott (Jordan Rausch), Ross Blease, Scott Beedie, Tom Dalgarno, Luke Myers (Darren Cruickshank), Nayland MacLaren, Lee Hood (Lawrence Slavin) & Steven Smith.