Report by Olly Brown.
Vauxhall Motors made club history as they beat Runcorn Linnets in the Cheshire Senior Cup on penalties, spot kicks from Ben Holmes, Greg Drummond and goalkeeper Ciaran O’Loughlin.
The away team kicked off the semi-final and showed from minute one they came to play with an early chance from Oapo Olarewaju whose shot was fired over the crossbar, who later came off due to an injury as Ethan Gouldbourne brought him down for a yellow card on the edge of the box, nevertheless the Motormen resisted the pressure and seemed to thrive under it with some nice passages of play.
A shot from Kieran Garner-Knapper in the first half nearly found its way in the back of the net if it wasn’t for Runcorn’s keeper who clawed it off the line for a corner, both sides struggled to create many chances, going back and forth, cancelling each other out.
The first half wasn’t without chances from the Linnets either which tested O’Loughlin, Louis Hayes wriggled his way into the box and got a shot off but was denied by the keeper as he stretched out and guided it round the post.
The second half seemed to be a repeat of the first half with McGraa’s men putting a great defensive performance in against an agitated away team, Holmes seemed to come into the game as the second half kicked on with some impressive link up play and crosses into the box, the away team still couldn’t penetrate the hosts and with penalties looming went for an increasingly attacking approach in the last ten minutes which didn’t result in anything.
The final whistle blew, and penalties followed, Runcorn’s Jacques Welsh stepped up against O’Loughlin and put it over the bar, next was Motors’ Ben Holmes who powered it into the left side of the net, cool, calm, collected.
The away teams Craig Cairns stepped up next following the miss and the pressure was on, he chose the bottom left corner but so did the keeper, another penalty missed for Linnets. Greg Drummond made it two for the hosts as he showed Cairns how to slot one into the bottom left.
Sean O’Mahony clawed one back for the away side, goalkeeper O’Loughlin was up next, sending the keeper the wrong way and firing one straight down the middle. It all came down to Runcorn’s Peter Wylie to keep them in the game but once again the Motors keeper impressed and tipped it round the post for Vauxhall to make history and progress into the finals of the Cheshire Senior Cup.
Vauxhall will play Stockport County in the final of the Cup, with the date, time and location to be confirmed.