A 10-MINUTE second half Paul Knox hat-trick saw Woodcote/Stoke Row secure their fourth Berkshire Trophy Centre Senior Cup final spot in five years as they put paid to Westwood United before a large crowd at Woodcote Recreation Ground on Saturday.
Woodcote started brightly and looked likely to brush aside their Premier Division opponents. Skipper Jim Hancock saw his sixth minute header rebound off an upright into the hands of the Westwood keeper. A minute later Tommy Chapman headed over from a Toby Nowell cross when well placed to score.
More good work was to come from Nowell who, on 18 minutes, put Knox in the clear, but on this occasion he was thwarted by a good block from the keeper. The keeper was in action again shortly afterwards tipping over Hancock’s header from Gareth Evans’ free kick.
On 22 minutes Westwood stunned the home crowd by taking the lead with a 25 yard strike in their first meaningful attack.
Woodcote pressed forward and were rewarded with an equaliser after 32 minutes. A corner was only half cleared to the edge of the box, Chapman headed it back in and, after a good challenge by James Worsfold, the ball fell to Toby Nowell who finished from close range.
With the scores even at half-time it looked to be anyone’s game and Westwood had the first chance to draw blood in the second period when they were awarded a penalty in the 50th minute. Woodcote keeper Kane Roberts came for the ball, failed to make contact with it and collided with an onrushing forward. The referee’s assistant signalled a penalty and awarded a yellow card. Roberts redeemed himself by saving the spot kick.
Soon afterwards Knox took charge of matters. In the 57th minute he gave Woodcote the lead with a chip from the left wing which hit the far post and bounced into the net leaving the keeper stranded. Four minutes later he popped up at the far post to head home Nowell’s pinpoint cross. On 67 minutes Knox completed his hat-trick with a shot which hit the inside of the post and went in off the back of the Westwood keeper to make it 4-1.
Westwood forced Roberts into a couple of good saves, but their spirit had been broken. In the final minutes Jake Dillon was cautioned for dissent before his brother Frank also picked up a yellow card for a rash tackle. Minutes later Frank Dillon received a second yellow for dissent.
In the final Woodcote/Stoke Row will face fellow Senior Division side Taplow United at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.