Five-star Blackstones break King’s Cliffe resistance to book place in semi-finals

Blackstones v King's Cliffe
Blackstones v King's Cliffe
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Blackstones became the first team to book their place in the semi-finals of this season’s Daniels Cup with a 5-1 home success over King’s Cliffe on Wednesday night.

The home side’s strike duo of Lee Clarke and Jones De Sousa both bagged braces for Stones with Ben Porter also on target.

King’s Cliffe, who play two levels below Blackstones, replied through Bradley Freeman after a battling display against their United Counties League Division One hosts.

The Peterborough League Division One side made life difficult for Stones in the opening exchanges as defended well despite the homesters enjoying plenty of possession.

Cliffe custodian Stuart Markley made a couple of smart stops to deny Clarke and Matt Carter as Stones probed for an opening as the visitors defended in numbers.

Jake Pell headed just wide from a corner before Markley again excelled to palm away a rasping drive from Rikki Wilmer.

The deadlock was finally broken nine minutes before half-time when Clarke produced a clinical close range finish after a superb burst forward from Harry Peasgood.

The goal took the wind out of Cliffe’s sails and Stones doubled their advantage before the break when De Sousa applied a tidy finish after racing through onto Clarke’s slide-rule through ball.

Cliffe came out with more attacking purpose for the second half and Connah Hunt burst clear only to blaze his shot over the crossbar.

Mark Ross hooked an effort over the home crossbar from a corner before Cliffe halved the deficit with a well-worked goal.

Jamie Wade made strides down the right before crossing to pick out Bradley Freeman at the far post and, although Stones goalkeeper Aaron Bellairs blocked the initial effort, Freeman rammed home the rebound.

The goal brought Stones back to life and they quickly restored their two-goal advantage as a fine individual run from Clarke created the opening for Porter to sweep home via a deflection.

Stamford Academy youngsters Reece Darby and Filip Czerwonka were then introduced to add extra impetus to Stones as King’s Cliffe efforts started to take their toll.

De Sousa struck the upright after being by a released by a precise pass from Matt Simpson before Stones added a fourth from the penalty spot when Clarke calmed converted after Darby had been felled.

A fifth goal soon followed as Clarke was released by Andy Boome before unselifishly squaring to give De Sousa an easy tap-in.

Stones had further chances to increase their lead with Czerwonka and De Sousa both firing wide when well placed, but any more goals would have been slightly harsh on Cliffe’s gallant efforts.

Stones: Bellairs, Peasgood, Wilmer, Pell, Simpson, Boome, Carter, Elwood, De Sousa, Clarke, Porter. Subs used: Bates, Czerwonka, Darby. Not used: Crockett.

Cliffe: Markley, Jones, Coles, N Lattimore, Burrows, Black, Wade, Ross, Hunt, Watkins, Freeman. Subs used: Howe, Holyoak. Not used: Browett, S Lattimore, McAllister.

n Cottesmore’s scheduled cup quarter-final with Stamford Lions was postponed on Tuesday night due to a waterlogged pitch.

It will now take place on Wednesday night (March 21) with a 7.30pm kick-off at Westray Park.