FootballNorthern Premier League

Radcliffe’s FA Trophy Triumph: A Game of Two Halves

First Half: Dominance on Display

In an FA Trophy showdown that kept fans on the edge of their seats, Radcliffe joint-manager Anthony Johnson couldn’t help but express his relief. His side managed to outlast a determined FC United of Manchester and secure their place in the second round of the prestigious competition.

Jamie Morgan’s Quickfire Brace

Radcliffe, currently leading the Northern Premier League with a commanding seven-point margin, were in fine form as they entered Broadhurst Park for their latest cup challenge.

Second Half: A Battle of Endurance

However, FC United of Manchester had other plans. Just eight minutes into the second half, they found the back of the net, leveling the playing field. The match was hanging in the balance, and the tension was palpable.

Michael Donohue’s Late Heroics

But then, with just three minutes remaining on the clock, Michael Donohue stepped up for Radcliffe and scored a crucial goal, forcing the game into a high-stakes penalty shootout.

Penalty Shootout: Mateusz Hewelt’s Heroics

This is where the hero of the hour emerged. Radcliffe’s goalkeeper, Mateusz Hewelt, made a decisive save from Charlie Oliver’s spot-kick. As his teammates calmly converted all five of their penalties, Radcliffe secured their passage to the next round of the competition in thrilling fashion.

Post-Match Reflections and Upcoming Challenge

Johnson couldn’t hide his excitement as he reflected on the game, saying, “I thought we were fantastic in the first half, as good as we’ve been. We handled the ball really well.”

Challenges and Commitment

He praised his team for adapting quickly to the challenging pitch conditions, which he described as one of the smallest pitches they’ve encountered at this level of football. Radcliffe’s exceptional first-half performance had set the stage for a convincing victory.

Endurance and Squad Depth

However, Johnson acknowledged that the second half was a different story. “In the second half, we looked leggy,” he explained. “We’ve played three games in the last week, two of them away, and one with 10 men against a tough opponent. It caught up with us a little bit.”

Confidence in the Team

Despite the challenges and their squad being stretched thin, Johnson commended his players for their commitment and determination, saying, “We’re down to the bare bones at this moment in time, but we’re still playing well, and the lads are doing what we’ve asked.”

FC United’s Determined Effort

He credited FC United for raising the tempo in the latter part of the game, adding, “They played it as a cup game and committed bodies forward.”

Awaiting the Next Challenge

Nevertheless, Johnson was confident in his team. Especially with Mateusz Hewelt guarding the goal and the quality of their penalty takers. Radcliffe’s reward for this thrilling victory is a trip to face National League North side Farsley Celtic in the next round, a challenge they’re eagerly awaiting.

Next Round: The FA Trophy Journey Continues

With this triumph, Radcliffe joins a select group of eight Northern Premier League teams at Step 3/4 level who remain in the FA Trophy. The second-round ties are scheduled for Saturday, November 18th, and the winners will receive £3,750, while the losers will claim £1,000.

Upcoming Matches Involving NPL Teams

In summary, Radcliffe’s FA Trophy journey is far from over, and fans can expect more excitement as they continue to represent their league in this prestigious competition. The stakes are high, and Radcliffe is ready for the challenge.

Games involving NPL teams in the second round include:

  • Buxton vs. City of Liverpool
  • Alfreton Town vs. Macclesfield
  • Curzon Ashton vs. Matlock Town
  • Farsley Celtic vs. Radcliffe
  • Nantwich Town vs. Chester
  • Stafford Rangers vs. Brackley Town
  • Harborough Town vs. Chelmsford City
  • Hemel Hempstead Town vs. Walsall Wood

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