Ten-man Hallam’s interest in this season’s Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup ended last night but only after they gave Premier Division opponents Maltby Main a run for their money at Muglet Lane, eventually going down to the odd goal in three, and the Hallam Management trio felt that their players didn’t really get going until they were a man – and a goal – down, writes Colin Muncie.
A crowd of 71 watched a goalless first half but Sam Forster put the Miners in front immediately after the restart. Niall Smith levelled for the visitors with a fine finish after 64 minutes but Steve Hopewell clinched the win – and a place in the semi-final for Maltby – with eleven minutes left.
“It was a very tight game,” Joint Manager Scott Bates admitted, “and I am very pleased with our lads’ work rate. I am gutted that we switched off at a critical time – the first five minutes after half time – and left ourselves a mountain to climb,but we showed great character to get back into the game.”
“I do think having ten men was a bridge too far. Credit to Maltby’s defensive display and we wish them all the best in the next round.”
Joint Manager Stephen Whitehead felt that a recent meeting of the sides had worked against his side. “We weren’t at our best tonight at all but, credit to Maltby, they did a great job on us,” Stephen acknowledged. “We probably showed them too many of our cards in the friendly we played against them a month or so ago. Fair play to them: they adjusted their shape and stopped us from influencing the game in the final third. We needed to be a little wiser and switched on, as we conceded and were down to ten men within five minutes of the restart. We reacted well to losing a man and equalised but it was always going to be an uphill task for 40 minutes with a man deficit.
“Good luck to them in the semi-final.”
Assistant Manager Dean Bamforth felt that the result was just about right and balanced some criticism of the officials with some criticism of his own players. “Obviously I’m disappointed,” Dean told us. “We didn’t do enough to win the game. It’s hard enough with eleven men without going down to ten. We didn’t compete till seven minutes into the second half and by that time we were a goal and a player down.”
“They’re a physical side who scream and shout for everything and the refs – being the standard that they are – go for it,” Dean explained. “I could give you a dozen errors HE made in key moments but it still wouldn’t be nowhere near the amount WE made.”