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Staffordshire County Senior League First Division - Norton United Reserves 5 - Cheadle SMU 3

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

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SATURDAY saw Cheadle SMU back in action for the first time in four weeks on a soft and uneven surface at Norton.

Outfield player Matt Fitzpatrick took duties in the Cheadle goal in place of the unavailable Mike Allen.

The game started off at a steady pace, with both teams probing for an outlet, and the surface at times making things difficult.

The first serious effort on goal came in the 15th minute when Mitch Finney beat the Norton keeper to a loose ball – but aimed just over the bar.

However, Finney made no mistake five minutes later when Dan Bloor delivered a deep cross to the far post for Finney to head in.

Five minutes later, it was 2-0 when Stuart Hannah picked up a loose ball just outside the area and beat the keeper with a low shot.

SMU were now in complete control and playing some decent football, whereas Norton seemed to lack confidence and any idea how to break through the visitors rear-guard.

SMU almost made it three when a cross from the right delivered by Steve Booth eluded everyone and struck the top of the bar.

However, SMU let Norton back in the game ten minutes before half- time when the goalkeeper mishandled a swinging cross from the right and a Norton player was on hand to tap the ball home.

The second half started in much the same vein as the first but Norton seemed to sense they had a way back and drew level on 60 minutes. A debatable free kick was spilled by the keeper and Norton reacted quickest to stab the ball home.

The next three minutes saw Norton score twice and put the game out of reach.

From the kick-off, SMU lost possession and a Norton player drove on with the ball before scoring from distance.

The home side then went 4-2 up after a loose ball was not cleared and a Norton forward took the ball on, slotting past Fitzpatrick.

SMU reshaped and went three at the back to try and take the game to Norton but on 75 minutes, they went further behind when a superb 25 yard shot went in off the upright.

SMU did not give up and despite being found short at the back on a couple of occasions, they looked the more likely to score.

Jamie Tee went close with a long-range shot before Finney scored his second on 85 minutes following a good interchange of passing.

As the game entered the dying minutes, SMU got a free kick on the edge of the area but Bloor was unable to keep it down and the ball went over the bar for a goal kick.

It was a disappointing result for SMU, who were in control at 2-0, but they allowed Norton back in to the game and once the hosts were level, there seemed to be only one likely winner.

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