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Stretton Spartans 3, Real Medina 2

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

Stretton Spartans

Stretton Spartans

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HAYDEN Shepherd’s early double helped Stretton Spartans through to the semi-final of the Burton FA Challenge Cup at Eton Park.

His brother, Marcus, was also on target, with Feasar Hussain replying with a double for Real Medina.

The visitors flew out of the blocks and scored twice in the first two minutes.

In their first attack, Omar Ahmed scythed down the pacy Marcus Shepherd in the box and Hayden buried the spot-kick.

Then Marcus burst clear down the right before his pinpoint cross was powered past Medina keeper Steve Gaskin by Hayden.

Two chances in the next five minutes should have put the tie beyond the hosts, but both were missed by Hayden Shepherd.

First, he robbed Ahmed and went clear but dragged his shot wide and then Marcus crossed for his brother to volley over.

Slowly, Medina got into the game with a Michael Wilson corner cleared to Mitch Baker, who saw his shot cleared off the line by Gavin Hunter.

Then Ian Taylor got up well to head clear a searching cross from Wilson.

In this decent spell for Medina, Curtis Wilson hit brother Michael, who laid the ball back for Elliott Ross, but a moment’s delay saw him crowded out.

At the other end, a dangerous inswinging corner from Marcus Shepherd was tipped away by Gaskin under pressure.

Hayden Shepherd then released Tom Braithwaite down the right but the midfielder’s cross-shot flew just over.

Next, a close range shot from Mason was deflected to Hayden Shepherd inside the box, but the striker dragged his shot wide.

The visitors kept up the pressure with a Marcus Shepherd free kick falling to Stuart Johnson, who scuffed his shot. Mason collected the ball, only for Gaskin to brilliantly tip his effort over from six yards.

Medina fought back with Nazaqat Ali prominent and when a decent cross came in from the winger, an overhead shot from Curtis Wilson was blocked by Charlie Bullock.

Just before the break, Michael Wilson sent brother Curtis clear but the striker shinned it wide before he fired a free kick inches wide in first-half injury time.

Two minutes after the break, Medina reduced the deficit.

Curtis Wilson swung in a deep corner from the right to the far post, where Paul Hale got up well to power his header goalwards and, although Ashley Gould beat out his effort, Hussain, on at half-time, pounced to volley past the keeper.

Then, Hussain turned sharply in the box before driving over.

Hale tried his luck with a speculative effort which flew just wide, a Hussain cross was claimed by Gould and when Bullock brought down Curtis Wilson on the edge of the box, Michael Wilson’s free kick shaved the angle of the woodwork.

But the Shepherd brothers were always a threat with their electric pace and when Marcus sent Hayden clear, only a crucial sliding tackle from veteran Stephen Barks denied the striker.

On 57 minutes, a strong appeal by Medina for a penalty for handball against Mason was waved away by referee Karl Jeffries and a minute later it was the midfielder who played a significant part in restoring the visitors’ two-goal advantage.

Mason won the ball in midfield before delivering a defence-splitting pass to release Marcus Shepherd and the winger calmly placed the ball into the bottom corner.

It should have all been over moments later when Jack Bagnall sent Hayden Shepherd clear, but the striker, with all the time in the world, dragged his shot wide of the relieved Gaskin’s goal.

Medina kept going, with a Curtis Wilson free kick coming off keeper Gould onto Michael Wilson’s head before flashing past the post.

Captain Ahmed then sent a fierce volley just over.

On 84 minutes, a second goal for Medina set up a frenetic finish.

Bullock misjudged a searching ball from Michael Wilson which dropped over his head to Hussain, who lashed the ball past Gould.

In injury time, a huge throw-in from Hale caused mayhem in the visitors’ box, with the ball running along the goal-line before just eluding substitute Muhammed Bojang as he slid in at the far post.

But it was all too little too late for the hosts, who can have little argument with the final outcome.

GOALS: H Shepherd 1 pen, 2, M Shepherd 59 (Spartans); Hussain 47, 59 (Medina).

REAL MEDINA: Gaskin, Mahmood, Hale, Ahmed, S Ali (Hussain 46), Barks, Baker, Ross, Z Ali (Bojang 63), M Wilson, C Wilson.

STRETTON SPARTANS: Gould, Hunter, Taylor, Bullock, Braithwaite (Powell 55), Johnson, M Shepherd, Mason, H Shepherd, Graham (Freeman 78). Subs not used: Brewin, Denny, Jones.

STAR MAN: Will Mason (Spartans) – tenacious midfielder set up crucial third goal.

REFEREE: K Jeffries (Shobnall).

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