Middleton stars as Ferrybridge reach County Cup semis

Josh Barratt fires home his second of the match for Ferrybridge Progressive after rounding the Sherwood FC goalkeeper. Picture: MARK WYARD
Josh Barratt fires home his second of the match for Ferrybridge Progressive after rounding the Sherwood FC goalkeeper. Picture: MARK WYARD

Ferrybridge Progressive booked their place at county headquarters for the third year running as they reached the semi-finals of the West Riding County Sunday Cup at the expense of Claro Sunday League outfit Sherwood FC.

The Castleford Sunday League champions won through to the last four of this year’s competition with another impressive display that brought them a 4-0 victory against strong opposition from Harrogate.

It was the visitors who started the game much brighter and their tricky right winger Rob Youhill caused mayhem a number of times with some quality crosses, causing real alarm in the Ferrybridge box.

One of these crosses saw youngster Scott Brown make a diving header to clear.

Youhill was Sherwood’s main outlet and every time the winger got the ball at his feet he looked dangerous, his crossing ability keeping Ferry’s backline on their toes.

James Hicks could have put the hosts in front, but he scuffed his shot after taking the ball down on his chest, the shot evading the keeper only to be cleared by a covering defender.

Then came what many considered to be a turning point in the game. A hard but fair tackle by enforcer Alex Booth on Youhill brought the game to an end for the winger as he went off with a dead leg.

This seemed to take the wind out of Sherwood’s sails and it was Ferry who again went close, Jimmy Earley latching onto a pass and turning a player before a well hit shot struck a Sherwood defender to just go wide.

From the resulting corner Hicks had a glorious chance, but the big target man headed wide when unmarked.

By now Ferrybridge were starting to take a hold of the game. They again went close when a Danny Middleton cross just eluded the head of Andy Seed after he had made a darting run into the area.

Sherwood still looked good on the counter, Fatlum Ibrahimi shooting wide when well placed.

Ferry were dealt a blow when frontman Hicks came off after picking up a knock. However, this introduced Josh Barratt into the game and he immediately made his mark when after picking the ball up outside the area his surging run and shot was only denied by the legs of the keeper.

Middleton was a constant torn in the side of Sherwood’s full-back and it was from a foul on him that the home team took the lead.

Rob Anderson’s fiercely hit free-kick could only be parried onto the cross bar by the Sherwood keeper. Barratt was then denied by a defender on the line with his first shot, but when the ball kindly fell back to him, he made no mistake with a classy back heel finish to make it 1-0.

The first half was a bit scrappy to say the least, but the second was totally different and dominated by Ferry from the off.

Anderson ran from inside his own area only for his shot to be blocked and this set the foundation for a brilliant team performance.

Fifteen minutes in the half and Ferry doubled their lead. The fantastic Middleton picked up a loose ball and pasted to Barratt, who rounded the keeper and found the net from a tight angle.

Sherwood had a chance to get back into the match almost straight away, their striker breaking through only to be denied by an inch perfect tackle from Booth, the big defender clearing the ball away just as he was about to get a shot off.

A rare mistake gave Sherwood their best chance as they picked up a loose ball to send a striker through one-on-one with the keeper, but like many times this season Adam Tasker was more than a match.

Ferrybridge made it 3-0 when Middleton broke the offside trap and squared for Earley, whose shot came off a defender back into the path of Middleton, who struck on the volley for a quality finish.

Middleton then found the net directly from a corner to make it four.

Ferry were only denied a fifth goal by a smart save from the Sherwood keeper, who tipped over Barratt’s shot following some tricks on the edge of the area by Jimmy Williams.

Sherwood did manage to hit the post late on while Barratt went close at the other end as the last five minutes were played out. Middleton picked up the MOM award and management duo Shaw and Dickinson were full of praise for the whole side, who have to thank the endless work J Wilson put in to make sure the pitch was playable.