Dock v Cheese001Dock proceeded into the semi-final of the Wirral Premier Cup, with a battling performance against The Cheese at a bleak Wallacre Park. In truth, both sides huffed and puffed and the first half was punctuated by very few moments of quality to cheer the touchline fans.

Dock started on the front foot and almost took the lead after five minutes when a short back pass to the ‘keeper was intercepted, but Ian McGraa steered the ball agonizingly wide. Although Dock enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, clear cut chances were at a premium and the Cheese limited Dock to some long range shots, none of which looked likely to trouble the Cheese goalie.

The home side then had a good spell mid-way through the half when first, a dangerous free kick eluded everyone in the six yard box, and then Martyn Stevenson tipped a twenty yard shot over the bar.

Dock responded by taking the lead just after the half hour. Cheese conceded a free kick about forty yards out. Steve Owen lofted a ball to the back post and from Paul Ryan’s header, Ian McGraa was on hand to volley home from close range.

Dock then had a let off when the Cheese centre forward rapped the base of the post just before half time, but survived to go into the break with a slender lead.

HT: The Cheese 0-1 Dock.

The second half followed much the same pattern, with both sides struggling to create any gilt edged chances. Mike Saunders, who came on at half time for the injured McGraa, did have a twenty yarder go just wide after fifty five minutes. Dock then shuffled the pack again, with John Clampitt coming on for Paul Ryan……a move which saw Mark Head return to midfield from full back and Tom Charters moving to the right back berth.

The Cheese was still in the game and again hit the woodwork on seventy minutes following a slick move through midfield. Another shot went just wide of Martyn Stevenson’s upright and the fans began to sense it was the Dock’s day.

Matty Carlin was introduced with ten minutes left, in place of Mark Head as Dock continued to repel any further attacks from the home side.

If The Cheese were beginning to think it wasn’t their day, this was proven on eighty five minutes when the referee gave Dock a soft penalty kick. The Cheese centre half did seem to play the ball, but the referee decided the robust challenge was outside the rules of the game and pointed to the spot. To compound matters, he sent off the Cheese centre back for protesting too vociferously!

Luke Hughes then strode up and coolly slotted home the spot kick to secure the victory for Dock.

FT: The Cheese 0-2 Dock.

Dock. 4-4-2 (with substitues in brackets).
Stevenson, Crotty, Irvine, Head (Carlin), Wingfield, , Hughes, Owen, Charters, Ryan (Clampitt), Kenyon, I. McGraa (Saunders).

Dock v Cheese002

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Report: Peter Warburton
Photos: Chris Stading