Baston player manager Ross O’Loughlin signed off in style as his side beat Guyhirn 3-2 to claim a semi-final spot in the PFA Challenge Cup.
O’Loughlin announced after the match that this was his last playing and management game, due to work and personal commitments.
Baston started well and played the better of the football with the wind. Only a couple of good saves by the home keeper denied O’Loughlin and Anthony Garmory.
The first goal came on 17 minutes when an O’Loughlin corner from the left eluded everyone except Garmory who headed in from close range to continue his fine run of scoring.
The away side continued to press and play some really attractive football and it was only a matter of time before they scored a second.
Dan Flood intercepted a Guyhirn attack, played the ball out to Tom Horton who showed great composure to cut back inside and feed Flood, who hit a first-time shot into the roof of the net.
Liam Davies pulled off a cracking save to his left just before half time to keep his side 2-0 ahead.
The wind picked up in the second half which made it more difficult to play attractive football and it was a bigger advantage for Guyhirn’s direct style.
Even with the intense pressure from the home side, Baston made it 3-0 on 60 minutes with some great work down the right through James Ward, who played Garmory through and his controlled header wrong-footed the home keeper for him to slot home from close range.
Guyhirn pushed on and put Baston under pressure for the rest of the half, not allowing them to get the ball under control. They scored their first when their big centre forward twisted and turned in the box to lift his shot over Davies and Scott Collins.
Guyhirn’s second came after 85 minutes to ensure a nervous finish for Baston.
A free kick from the right looked like being cleared by Ward but he missed the ball which in turn caught Davies off-guard and it nestled in the net.
Garmory could and should have scored his hat-trick when he was played through by Aaron Jesson, only to miss his shot by all of 20 yards, blaming the pitch for the effort.
Guyhirn pressed in the final five minutes and would have taken the game into extra time but for some last-ditch defending by Tom Palmer, Flood and Ciaran Reynolds plus two great saves by Davies.
O’Loughlin said he couldn’t have been more proud of his team after the performance and they have certainly come a long way since the start of the season.
He said Baston are playing football from the back but now fight for each other, battle for the first and second ball and don’t allow the opposition to play.
O’Loughlin said he would like to thank everyone who has been involved with the club, players and management staff alike. He said they were a great bunch of lads and whoever takes over as manager will soon realise they have a special team with the potential to be a very good side.
Baston are seeking a new team manager, and anyone interested should contact the club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, Baston Reserves beat Peterborough Sports A 3-0 on Saturday.
Goals from Greg Rawlinson, Jacob Parkin and Ben Hudson sealed the win in the PDFL Divsion Four clash.