Noakes Hat-Trick Ensures Semi-Final for First XI
STRS travelled to Cotswold School for the County Cup quarter final and came away with a much deserved win. Constant early pressure and high tempo from the impressive away side led to a couple of chances but it was a corner that brought the first goal. Price delivered another quality ball into the near post, where the ball actually passed its intended target and found its way to the back post - Noakes was on hand to slot the ball home to open the scoring. Continued energy and midfield dominance was telling and Cotswold were struggling to get into the game. The STRS defence was being well marshalled by Ranken, playing a high line and managing to catch the home side offside when they had any meaningful attack. Despite their dominance, Tommies conceded a goal not long before half time meaning the sides were level at the break. Rather than dropping their heads, STRS began the second half brightly, confident that they were the better side. It was not long before Smerdon slid the ball through to the on fire Noakes, who took the ball into the area and skilfully chipped the advancing 'keeper into the far side netting. 2 - 1 STRS. Tommies asserted themselves even further, with Chadwick's endless running dragging the defence this way and that. The midfield combination of Smerdon, Ahmed and Mainwaring-Taylor once again showed how to boss the centre of the park, not allowing Cotswold to play. The third goal came form a ball played up to Price, who flicked the ball on into the path of Noakes. A home defender tried to intervene, only to make poor contact with the ball - Noakes capitalised and headed goalwards...there was only one outcome! 3 - 1 STRS. The home side did manage to get what turned out to be a consolation second sloppy goal but Tommies held on the a fine victory. We now await other results to find out who we face in the last four.