FC Armley arrived at Stanningley Park for their eagerly anticipated county cup game with Halfway who are currently unbeaten in Division 2, with only one agenda: to win and get through to the next round, writes Dan Thomas.
FC Armley started very strongly and created chances from the off.
The passing and defending of both teams was good and it was a very level game.
In the 25th minute Pawel of FC Armley appeared to hand ball in the penalty box and the ref blew up.
Penalty given, and Halfway took the lead.
The away team did not let their heads drop and continued to play good football and create chances.
With 38 minutes played, FC Armley were dominating possession and Haydn Bowler scored with a looping header from 15 yards out that lobbed the keeper.
Suddenly the tempo switched and FC Armley wanted to come in at half-time winning.
Three minutes later and some good passing from FC Armley, James Whittaker found his way into the box and lobbed the keeper. Carl McGuigan was there to make sure it hit the back of the net with his head.
The half -ime whistle was blown and FC Armley came in with the advantage.
FC Armley made a change at half time to bring on some fresh Legs.
Bart made way for Eddie on the right wing.
FC Armley started the second half how they left the first, creating chances and on a couple of occasions coming close to extending their lead.
On the 60th minute Armley made another change. Brandon came off for Dan T.
More chances came for both teams.
On the 67th minute and after an attack, FC Armley were caught on the counter and Halfway equalised. 2-2
For the next 10 minutes both teams were passing well, creating chances and opening up the play looking for that winning goal.
On the 80th minute FC Armley created a chance going forward and winning a corner.
The corner came in and was cleared out to Haydn Bowler on the edge of the box, took a touch and buried it into the bottom corner to extend his goal scoring tally to 10 goals in five games.
FC Armley continued to press to improve on the scoreline and created a few more chances.
Halfway continued to probe and after some scrappy football, the found the ball in to the box. A player took a touch and scrambled it into the net. 3-3
James Whittaker came close a minute later after beating a defender and confidently attempting to lob the keeper.
The ref blew the final whistle and this exciting cup game was to be decided by penalties.
Halfway were up first and Olli made a fantastic save.
Haydn Bowler was first to take FC Armleys and he struck it to bottom corner, forcing the goalkeeper to fully extend and touch it wide with his fingertips.
Halfway scored their next penalty.
Dan Thomas stepped up to take the next for FC Armley and hit the cross bar.
Halfway again scored their next.
Carl McGuigan was penalty taker number three for Armley and put it over the bar.
Halfway stepped up and scored their fourth penalty to see them through to the next round.
This was a fairly fought match between both teams and FC Armley were disappointed to have lost on penalties, but held their head up high after a really good performance against a team two divisions above them.
Harley Hirst – FC Armley manager had this to say following the game:
“I am pleased with the overall performance, we have stepped up a level today and dominated a team from two divisions above us.
“Very proud of all the lads, unfortunate to lose on penalties but it’s a lottery at the end of the day.
“Looking forward to seeing what some of the fringe players have got in their locker in Thursday night and we look forward to our league game next week.”
Man of the match goes to Mick Dixon with a consistent and strong display at centre back.
FC Armley’s next game is away against FC Retailers on 09/10 at Ellerby Lane Rec. 11am kick off.