Luke HughesAfter some doubts were raised as to the state of the Bebington Oval pitch being playable, and after a referee’s inspection, the game kicked off in bright sunshine. It was evident from the start, that the recent weeks’ weather had taken its toll on the pitch, but both sides tried their best to play some attractive passing football from the outset.

The Jockey seemed to adapt more easily to the conditions and Dock were forced to defend, with the lively Jamie Edwards a constant threat for the home side.

Dock countered on ten minutes when both Steve Duckers and then Mark Head had half chances from deep crosses into the Jockey box.

On twenty five minutes, Jamie Kenyon had a shot just off target and then in the half hour, Dock had their best chance of the half. From a Jockey corner, Dock broke quickly and Mark Head’s shot was saved well by the home goalie.

Horse and Jockey took the lead straight afterwards, when from a Dock attack, they swept quickly forward and a fine finish from their inside forward gave Martyn Stevenson no chance on 32 minutes.

For the rest of the half, Horse and Jockey looked to press home their advantage, and but for some fine ‘keeping from Martyn Stevenson, the half time deficit could have been much greater. He made at least two outstanding saves up until half time to keep the score at 0-1.

HT: Horse and Jockey 1-0 Dock.

After a rousing team talk from management team Jason Williams and Paul Wood, Dock looked much more aggressive in the second half and the vast majority of the play was spent in the Jockey half. When Jockey did venture into Dock territory, Matty Carlin and Ian Irvine, both who gave a masterful exhibition in defending in difficult conditions were equal to anything the Jockey could muster.

Dock had a concerted period of pressure leading up to the equalizer on 70 minutes, when Mark Head finished with aplomb after a neat one-two on the edge of the box.

Dock made a couple of substitutions, with one (Ian McGraa on for Jamie Kenyon) proving to be the critical and decisive change. Dock kept knocking on the door and it looked like Jockey would hold out for extra-time, when Dock scored a somewhat contentious winner in the last minute. After the referee initially waved for advantage for a foul on the edge of the Jockey box, and then Dock getting in a shot off target, he pulled the play back to signal a direct free kick for Dock.

Ian McGraa stepped up and coolly slotted home the ball from 20 yards to put Dock through to the next round. Although the game was not the best spectacle for the fans, Dock just about deserved their win for their second half dominance.

FT: Horse and Jockey 1-2 Dock.

Dock. 3-5-2 (with substitues in brackets).
Stevenson, Crotty (Byrne), Irvine, Carlin, Wingfield, Duckers, Hughes, Clampitt, Owen, Head, Kenyon ( I. McGraa).

Report: Peter Warburton
Pictures: Chris Stading

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