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Cottesmore AFC will face Oakham United in the final of the Rutland Cup



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Holders Oakham United will face final hosts Cottesmore in the quest for glory in the Rutland Cup on Saturday.

The two sides will meet at Westray Park (kick-off 3pm) after safely negotiating their way through the semi-final matches of the popular competition.

Oakham had to hold their nerve to defeat Stamford Lions in a penalty shoot-out after the honours had finished even at 2-2 following 90 minutes in Saturday's searing heat at Lands' End Meadow.

Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026430)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026430)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026432)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026432)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026434)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026434)

Lions had seen an early effort from Leon Kavanagh turned to safety by home goalkeeper Jamie Stephens before Oakham struck first to break the deadlock.

The visitors failed to deal properly with a high ball into their box and Alex McNally pounced to score from close range.

Tournament organiser Stewart Lambie then had a great chance to double United's lead when a teasing run from Trafford Crane created an opening but Lions goalkeeper Dylan Taylor was equal to the effort.

And the Stamford side then got on level terms when confusion between McNally and Stephens in dealing with a cross saw the home defender turn the ball past his goalkeeper and into his own net.

Oakham though managed to regain the lead before the break when Jacob Joyce's headed flick-on was tapped home by Ash Chamberlain.

The heat took its toil on the game in the second period with a young Lions side growing in confidence at the half wore on.

Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026438)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026438)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026442)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026442)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026446)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026446)

Fin Sewell flashed over a dangerous cross that eluded the visiting attack before they equalised with 15 minutes remaining when Ridley Braid clipped home a fine finish over Stephens.

This sparked a response from Oakham and Aidan Quinn went close with a header while Ed Sakovich saw a couple of efforts blocked.

However, it was Lions who had the best opportunity to settle the tie late on but Kavanagh was unable to convert and the match went to penalties.

Oakham took the early initiative and, when Lions saw their twice-taken first penalty saved on both occasions by Stephens, the hosts had control.

Chamberlain did miss Oakham's third spot kick, but Stephens saved again and Lions were unable to take advantage as Joyce scored the final penalty for Oakham which secured a 4-2 victory.

They will face a Cottesmore side in the final who were 3-0 winners against Peterborough League Premier Division champions Uppingham Town.

All four teams were missing players for the semi-final matches, but the absence of Uppingham's key quartet of goalkeeper Ton Hubbard, Jordan Neil, Rob Montgomery and talisman Rob Forster was the most notable.

Callum O'Berg saw an early effort for Town tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Alex Brown while Cottesmore's new recruit Sven Hart blazed a good chance over.

Cotts then took the initiative and a flowing move saw them go ahead as Mark Tinsley showed excellent forward play to roll in Morgan Heppleston whose low cross was converted with aplomb by Tom Caldicott.

Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026448)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026448)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026450)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026450)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026452)
Rutland Cup semi-final action as Cottesmore defeated Uppingham. Photo: Alan Walters (58026452)

Aaron Ridout had a good chance to double the advantage but steered his shot wide from Colton Cropper's inviting free-kick.

Josh Sennett then produced a superb run for Uppingham but stand-in striker Martin Turiccki fired wide from the resultant cross.

Turiccki went close after another teasing run before Town goalkeeper Jamie Binley did well to claw away a header from Baris Topaloglu.

Cottesmore scored the crucial second goal on the stroke of half-time though as Cropper whipped in a wicked free-kick which crashed down off the underside of the crossbar with Caldicott applying another touch to ensure the ball had crossed the line.

It was now about managing the contest in the second period and Cottesmore showed their experience to guarantee their cup final slot.

They sealed their success with a third goal when the returning Jake Culverwell won possession and fed a through ball to Andre Fontoura who curled home a fine finish into the far corner of the Uppingham net.

Town have always been a team with a never-say-die attitude and they continued to push until the final whistle.

Sennett was denied late on by Brown who then made another crucial block shortly after to thwart Turiccki with the rebound falling back to Sennett whose effort was blocked on the line by Luke Smith to deny Town any late consolation.



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