Norstar London Raiders avoided a potential banana skin as they saw off their lower-league opponents with an emphatic 8-0 victory at Brunel University.
Cyril Anekstein Cup Third Round
Norstar London Raiders A 8 SPEC 0
Sunday, 17 November, 2013
SPEC set out to make things difficult for Raiders keeping things tight in the middle of the park and sitting back to counter the multiple-threats posed by the league-leaders’ attack.
But it wasn’t long before Raiders had the ball in the net – albeit for a goal that was disallowed due to a novice linesman with a questionable understanding of the offside rule – the newly-married Josh Morris receiving a neat cross-field pass and lifting the ball from the far right, over Michael Rhodes in the SPEC goal.
This was to prove a fateful mistake, spurring the home side on and whilst the SPEC midfield remained strong a Raiders goal looked inevitable.
It soon came after some great recovery work from Zak Mcleod saw him pick the ball up on his own goal line and launch an attack, playing some neat football with David Dinkin, who released Josh Green on the right hand side of the box, his cross finding Matt Stock who turned and fired in for the opener.
Less than a minute later it was two, this time Dinkin finishing off another great move with a fine strike into the bottom left corner. Dinkin then grabbed another and McLeod got in on the act with a poacher’s finish following some fine play down the left by Stock.
The second half was to be a more open affair with Raiders looking for more and SPEC fighting for a consolation. But ultimately there was to be only one winner with Premier Division class outshining the dogged determination of an injury-hit SPEC side.
Stock grabbed his second of the game with a majestic left-foot volley after McLeod’s shot was parried by Rhodes, and then completed his hat-trick with the goal of the game, picking up the ball 25-yards out and curling it into the top corner – again with his weaker foot.
There was still time for Green to grab a seventh – a goal he dedicated to his two-day old nephew with the traditional celebration – and the returning Oli Henry put the icing on the cake with a surging run in the final moments of the match and a neat finish for goal number eight.
SPEC did have their chances with some good set-pieces from deep but Jake Doffman and the Raiders defence were alert and never looked like conceding, aside from a superb goal line clearance from Mike Hershman.
Raiders boss Phil Peters was pleased with his team’s display, saying: “Another professional cup performance, we didn’t let our foot off the gas once and frankly it could and should have been more than eight. It’s great to be in the quarter-finals.
“I made six changes to the starting line-up from last week, including three to the back four and we still looked comfortable at the back whilst some of our football going forward was breathtakingly good.
“SPEC are a much, much better team than today’s scoreline suggests but we know that they’ve been decimated by injuries so far this season. I hope they rally and am sure they’ll manage to avoid relegation this year if they stick with the outstanding Laurence Conway in the dugout.
“We look forward to welcoming Redbridge to Brunel next week in what will certainly be a tougher test but we’ll be ready for battle and looking to extend our good run of form.”