North Cambs Cup Quarter-Final
Manea Utd 2
FC Parson Drove 6
Drove visited Manea for the second time in three weeks and earned a place in the semi-finals.
Drove had worked hard in the week, changes to the squad and starting 11 were made as a consequence of a lacklustre performance the previous week.
Playing a new formation and with player changes this may have been a risk however Drove embraced this and started very quickly, an early goal from Gaje Drew setting the tone after five minutes.
Credit to Manea, they held a deep defensive line and a deep midfield making them hard to break down. Drove must have had 85% possession but only got behind their defensive line a few times, leaving shots from distance and many deliveries from out wide.
Drove hit the woodwork from a 30 yard Callum Brown free-kick and again minutes later from a Steve Thompson header but couldn’t get the second. Manea countered with a long ball which was converted well by the Manea forward leaving it somehow 1-1 after 35 minutes.
Ryan Alexander got injured on 40 minutes and was replaced by the returning Matty Cawthorn. Drove got their rewards on the mark of half-time with a superbly taken goal by Adam Key making it 2-1 at the break.
Second half, Drove got out of the traps very quickly dictating the tempo of the game, possession and were looking more expansive.
Further pressure, half chances, goals given offside and goalkeeper stops were keeping Drove at bay but they did add their third from the spot on the hour through Cawthorn. Drew added number four not long after for his second of the game.
Manea began to get tired and more spaces were opening up. Any pressure Manea put on Drove was mopped up by a superb back three, the introduction of Kev Smith giving fresh legs who was superb when coming on. Smith added Drove’s fifth with 15 minutes to go and the game was done.
Manea however on a rare counter attack took advantage of a slip at the back and lobbed Callum Summers. Robbie Knight’s mazy run created havoc with seven minutes to go as the Manea defender felled Knight for Drove’s second penalty of the game which was expertly converted by Cawthorn to complete the rout.
Manager of Drove, Gary Haime, said: “Firstly a lot of respect for Manea, they remained disciplined and their shape was superb for a good hour. I think that they are in a false position in their league, I am not saying for a minute they are an amazing side but we have played a lot worse sides this year and I think they will turn it around.
“In terms of my lads I needed a response from last week and I got it, all around the park we were excellent and deserved more goals, when we are on it we are a very good side even in comparison to any Step 7 side however it is about applying that talent and maintaining it at a consistent level.
“We face Moulton Harrox Reserves this coming week in the division above, this will be a real game, they would be a top 5 Peterborough Premier side but are league locked by their first team.
“I really am looking forward to this as it is going to be a real match and I see lots of goals, a real game to take in for the neutral. They are undefeated this year and only lost two games last season so of course this is a test and we go in as rare underdogs.
“That’s the hard part for us, playing sides that we can beat in second gear and then having to jump in to fifth for games like this week.”
Drove’s game this week (Nov 11) is at home in the PFA Challenge Cup last 16 for a 2pm Kick-Off.