It is getting to the business end of the North Riding Saturday Challenge Cup and Richmondshire still had two challengers by Saturday evening.
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Catterick Garrison are running low on players but managed to cobble together a team for the visit of Easingwold Town.
Catterick started brightest, using the ball on the floor and sending Easingwold dizzy with their quick passing.
The visitors were very predictably humping it in the channels and missing out their own midfield.
The best chance of note fell to Damian Hargreaves who collected a defence-splitting pass in his stride and he touch taking him into the box.
The Easingwold Keeper was out quickly but didn’t know a lot about the save which came of the very tip of his heel and away to safety.
An excellent game of end to end football broke out with the two contrasting styles both now effective.
Last ditch blocks and tackles from the Catterick centre backing pairing of Scott Turner and Sam Maddison kept the game goalless and the home side inches away from the lead up the other end too.
The game was level at the break but the deadlock was broken five minutes into the half in slightly controversial circumstances.
After another of Steven Files special saves went behind for a corner. Easingwold then opted to use their own ball rather than wait for one of the three match balls.
The flat Christmas pudding was humped to the back post, where an attacker headed it back across the box.
The ball didn’t bounce and a scramble ensued with an Easingwold attacker eventually toeing the ball home. The ref instantly changed the ball and apologised to Catterick.
Catterick got on with matters on a pitch that was more brown then green, and soon scored an excellent equaliser.
The ball was collected at the back and worked into midfield, maybe ten passes later the ball was on the left with Hargreaves. In the blink of an eye via a stunning one-two with Neil Wright Hargreaves was again one on one with the keeper. This time he drilled the ball wide of the stopper and in off the far post.
Files was called into action from a succession of corners, punching and catching everything near him, whilst the beast at the back Turner powerfully headed away the rest!
The game eventually ended 1-1 after 90 and the rules in this comp is straight to spot kicks.
Steven Files was the shootout hero saving three of Easingwold’s seven kicks, including a critical fifth penalty to send it to sudden death.
Unicorn are also through to the last eight after beating Sleights 3-1.
The Richmond team started slowly and conceded from a headed goal after a Sleights freekick.
This spurred Unicorn into life and 20 minutes later they were level. Man of the match Rory Atkinson sent a delightful through ball to Mark Sims, who was brought down for a penalty, which he then converted in the bottom right hand corner.
Tempers frayed shortly after this and Sims, who out of character was tracking back and winning the ball fairly, was then deliberately kicked in the back of the legs.
This resulted in a 22-man melee with Charlton and a Sleights player receiving cautions.
On 38 minutes Unicorn were ahead. A clearance from Stuart Brown was brought down wonderfully by Sims, who held off the defender before slipping to the ground.
However, he still managed to hook the ball home. On 61 minutes Shaun Charlton volleyed home from close range from a Keegan free-kick.
Richmond Mavericks had less success, losing 3-2 away to Thirsk Falcons in what was their first defeat of the season.
James Kelly and Ryan Howe got the goals for Richmond.
Back in the league, there were some cracking games.
Richmond Academy held on for a rare victory against rivals Richmond Buck.
Former Buck manager Paul Ramsay elected to draft in a handful of Richmond Town first teamers, which paid dividends as Academy took their chances and had a comfortable three nil lead shortly after half time.
Both sides started on the front foot with the Buck creating three good chances that drew good saves from Spensley.
Academy worked their way into the game and Simpson and Emson caused problems down the left which resulted in good openings for Emson, but he couldn’t find the target.
On 30 minutes Emson laid the ball off for Carnegie-brown who hit a beautiful first time effort of Ryan in the Buck goal.
Four minutes later CB got his second with a near post header from Lewington’s corner.
CB completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half, Emson went through on when the ball got stuck under his feet he paid it square for another lovely first time finish.
Buck manager Luke Pearson brought on David Addison and Marshal Thorogood and changed formation, tipping the balance in the Buck’s favour.
Buck stormed back into the game in the final half hour, beginning with Addison feeding Josh Wooff to smash the ball towards goal from a tight angle which the keeper couldn’t deal with and ended up in the top corner of the net.
Buck were right back in it when Wooff slalomed through the Academy defence and he showed great composure to cut the ball back for Addison to finish neatly into the net.
This provoked lots off loud noises from the psyched Buck bench and supporters.
Addison and Thorogood had big chances to level but Academy held on for all the points, three more of which will be keenly contested in seven days’ time thanks to the fixture computer.
Colburn were involved in another score draw, this time against Leyburn, after last week’s against Catterick.
The first half gave little sign of the goal blitz to come. After 12 minutes, Stuart Murray played Tom Sweeney through.
His first effort was blocked, but he nailed it at the second attempt.
Colburn were in control for the majority of the first half, their only blips coming with two bookings, debutante Billy Magson for a late tackle, and Joe Woodall for a high challenge.
Little was seen of Leyburn as an attacking force, and the half time talk was of consolidating in the second half.
One goal was never going to be enough, but Colburn began the second half on the front foot, with a good effort from Woodall forcing a brave save from Leyburn’s keeper, and a shot from Sweeney being blocked.
Then, in a two-minute spell, the game was turned on its head.
Once again indecisive, lacklustre defending cost Coburn dearly as goals from Callum Rankine and James Stanger got past Tim Bishop in Colburn’s goal to make the score 2-1 to Leyburn.
Credit it to Colburn – they picked themselves up off the floor and on the hour Josh Crisp sent a fine pass out of defence to the feet of Sweeney, who turned, looked up and thundered a shot which went in off the crossbar.
Colburn weren’t level for long. A Leyburn ball was switched from left to right where Dean McCormack was too easily shrugged off the ball, and Leyburn’s George Shaw restored their lead.
But on 70 minutes, this topsy-turvy game turned again when Murray took two goes to beat the keeper, having been played in by Brandon Bishop.
Colburn made a change, bringing the fresh legs of Craig Teasdale on in place of a hamstrung Gary Hutchinson, who had soldiered on for 70-plus minutes, after being a doubtful starter.
Now it was Dan Gardner’s turn and he sent a fierce shot which came back off the post. Next minute, Colburn took the lead again.
A free-kick was sent in from the left, Shane Parkinson had a shot saved, but Woodall ran in at the far post and blasted it in.
But Leyburn weren’t finished and when a ball ran loose, Rankine pounced to level things.
After Carperby took all the points last week against Reeth, the Swaledale team got revenge on Saturday.
A 17th minute Jack Thornley effort crept in as the goalkeeper mishandled to give Reeth the lead.
Chances came and went, but neither side could find the net and that solitary goal separated the sides at half -time.
As Reeth continued to spurn good opportunities, it was Carperby who struck to equalise with 64 minutes gone.
A quick break down the right outpaced the Reeth defence and a low cross was tapped-in at the near post by James Spence.
A penalty for a high boot six minutes later was dispatched calmly by Jack Thornley and Reeth took a 2-1 lead.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, the visitors levelled once more, Craig Maddison heading in firmly from a long-range free kick.
But the pick of the goals came on 79 minutes. Fully 40 yards out on the right flank, Reeth’s Adam Simpson fired an unstoppable curling shot into the near top corner.
It proved decisive, as Reeth took the points with a 3-2 victory, despite a late dismissal of one of their players following an altercation.
In the final game of the day, Spennithorne and Hamby beat Hawes United 4-2 through two goals from Luke Wilkinson, and one each from James Smith and Jack Crook.
North Riding Cup
Catterick Garrison 1-1 Easingwold Town (Pen 5-4)
Thirsk Falcons 3-2 Richmond Mavericks
Unicorn 3-1 Sleights
Hawes United 2-4 Spennithorne
Leyburn 4-4 Colburn
Reeth 3-2 Carperby
Richmond Town Academy 3-2 Richmond Buck
Fixtures – 8.12.18 (all league)
Catterick Garrison v Spennitorne
Hawes v Colburn
Richmond Buck v Richmond Town Academy
Richmond Mavericks v Carperby
Unicorn v Leyburn