Peninsula power through to final eight

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Peninsula Power prevailed in an all-Trophy Superstore Premier League FFA Cup round 5 tie at AJ Kelly Park on Wednesday night, defeating Easts 3-2.

Easts started the match with the right intent, forcing a save from Power goalkeeper, Jake Reesby in an early attack but it would be the home side that got on the scoresheet first in the 3rd minute. Mitch Buhmann giving his team the perfect start after he latched onto a wonderful throughball from Steven Cleary that the Easts defence failed to react to. Tigers keeper Tom Carroll powerless to deny Power’s 1-0 lead.

There was further joy for Peninsula just seven minutes later when Byron Napper finished first time from just inside the box and Power had a two-goal advantage just ten minutes in.

Peninsula continued to threaten the Easts defence, first Cleary had a sharp-angled effort denied by Carroll before Cleary and Napper linked together only for a wonderful tackle from Michael Ryan to break down the attacking foray near the 18-yard box.

Midway through the first half, Justin McMullen won Easts a corner and from the resulting play, Ramone Close was able to capitalise on Power’s inability to clear the area, nodding in from close range to pull a goal back.

On the half hour, Buhmann could have restored his side’s two-goal advantage, only to drive his shot into the back of his teammate, Jared Austin on its goalward trajectory.

In the 38th minute, Close and Matt Heath combined and were able to evade Power defender, Scott McNeil, Close putting a ball up high for his captain Ryan Stenhouse to display his aerial skills but unable to steer the in the right direction. Both sides playing out the remaining time for Peninsula to take a 2-1 advantage to the break.

The opening exchanges of the second half provided a tight tussle with both sides struggling for opportunities but drama ensued in the 63rd minute when Jarod Lancaster was deemed to have been brought down inside the box, referee Alan Milliner having no hesitation pointing to the spot amid the protests of the Peninsula players.

Stenhouse stepped up to take the penalty and despite Reesby making the right decision to dive low to his right, Easts were back on a level keel with the conversion needing the assistance of the left upright.

Three minutes later Easts threatened again, Lancaster playing in Close who was able to get in behind the Power defence but an advancing Reesby stopped any further progress.

With extra time looming, Heath produced a bullet-like shot that went straight to Reesby and from the ensuing Peninsula possession, a cross in from the left saw substitute Matt Hornby, returning from injury, bob up at the near post for Power to take a 3-2 lead.

The crowd thought Hornby had sealed it once and for all with two minutes remaining, again heading at the near post but this time finding the side netting.

As heavy showers began to descend in the final moments, Easts were unable to send the match into an extra thirty minutes with Peninsula moving into round six.

Peninsula Power 3 (Mitch Buhmann 3’, Byron Napper 10’, Matt Hornby 85’) v Eastern Suburbs 2 (Ramone Close 22’, Ryan Stenhouse 63’ (pen))

Peninsula: Reesby (gk), Austin, M.Buhmann, Burns, Cleary, Holden, Maticic, T.McEvoy, McNeil, Napper, Roulston. Subs: R.Buhmann, McMillan, Swain, Hornby, Kirala (rgk).

Easts: Carroll (gk), Boyd, Close, Edwards, Heath, Lancaster, Mulder, Rahman, Ryan, Stenhouse. Subs: Amano, Barnett, Burgess, Kai, Harrison (rgk).

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