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Cup Magic from Moor Mead

Moor Mead overcame a side four leagues above them and foul weather conditions to record a hugely impressive 4-1 cup win away from home.

In driving rain and howling wind they produced a very disciplined display illuminated by a trio of outstanding defensive performances by Orla, Ben and Teig.

In a tight match of few clear cut chances, Mani was razor sharp up front, Jake, Kiran and Ryan irrepressible on the flanks, and Daniel industrious in midfield.

Walton started strongly, and went close after a sharp break, but Daniel and Mani responded with some neat passing in midfield, and Ryan forced a save low at the near post.

At the back Teig put in an imperious first half, reading the game cleverly and turning defence into attack on several occasions.

The Parakeets took the lead midway through the half when Mani blasted home a free kick after Ryan had been brought down on the edge of the area.

Daniel fired wide after a flowing move, and both Mani and William should have done better when presented with good chances.

Jake made a couple of penetrating runs down the right wing, and was then on hand to make an important intervention at the back.

Walton came back into the game as the rain intensified, but were denied by a crucial tackle by

Orla when faced with a one on one, and then by Ben in similar circumstances.

Ben then produced probably the tackle of the season to stop a Walton winger in his tracks.

A tight first half ended with Moor Mead marginally on top. Thankfully, the 3G astroturf pitch was coping considerably better with the inclement weather than the BBC website, laughably predicting improving conditions.

Instead the second half began with the wind freshening to near-gale force – and a surge by the Parakeets. Superb close control by Mani took him away from the defence, and he lashed home to double the lead.

But the lead didn't last. For the only time in the match, Moor Mead lost their shape, pushing too far forward in search of more goals, and leaving Alec exposed in goal. Despite a brave effort, he was unable to stop his save falling at the feet of a Walton striker, who reduced the deficit from close range.

The team responded superbly to coach Matt's demands for a greater focus, bellowing “Get Back, Orla!” as she helped an opponent back to his feet. They repelled a period of sustained Walton pressure with the help of another thunderous tackle from Ben.

At the other end Mani came close to completing his hat-trick following a good combination with William. William, too, went close following a driving run, and Kiran produced a fine piece of trickery to force a corner.

A tight game was finally wrapped in spectacular style with a rapid-fire double strike by Ryan, who was on hand twice to finish clinically after Mani had made mincemeat of the home defence. Ryan's eye for goal was possibly bettered only by the exuberance of his goal celebrations.

On day when the weather threw up four seasons in one football match – all of them winter – it was Moor Mead who produced a truly elemental performance against experienced and well-drilled opponents to set them on a path towards potential cup glory.

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