Irlam 3-2 Cheadle Town

Blame me. I jinxed it.

With all three of the allocated minutes of injury time gone I had prepped a tweet saying "going into extra time" just as Irlam were about to send in a free-kick; unfortunately we chose the wrong time to not deal with said ball, allow it to bounce in the area and have poor Michael Birch shaft it into his own net in his haste to clear it. There was no time left to make amends.

A terrible shame as we had worked hard in the latter stages of the second half to haul ourselves back level after going 1-2 down and give ourselves another 30 minutes at trying to turn the tie back around in our favour.

We had also started the game reasonably well, taking the lead in the 18th minute thanks to a superb Liam Tongue effort.

In the lead-up to that we had already seen Liam fire the first shot in anger on the 9th minute and Rick Whyatt see a turn and shot in the box denied by a good one-handed save shortly afterwards.

When Rick turned the ball inside from the right for Liam on that 18th minute he swung a right foot at it and sent a curling, looping shot right into the top corner; think Yaya Toure's goal for Manchester City in the League Cup Final versus Sunderland a couple of years ago and you get the idea.

The pattern of the first half then shifted with the hosts having much the better of what remained.

It culminated in Irlam getting a deserved equaliser just after the half-hour mark when Liam Morrison's - Irlam's Man of the Match for me - shot from the edge of the box got a slight deflection on its way in, sending Josh Samberg the wrong way.

They should have been ahead just three minutes later but their striker somehow managed to send it skywards when put through and only a couple of yards out.

Josh Samberg was then called into action a couple of times before the break, making an excellent block on 41 minutes when Irlam looked set to score from close range (and perhaps being guilty of dallying for too long) and then showing strong hands two minutes later to beat away a fierce drive.

We found ourselves behind ten minutes after the restart after Irlam continued their pressure and a couple of undeserved yellow cards seemed to upset our rhythm. It was a well-worked move by Irlam: a nice combination of passes down the left side resulting in Boland crashing home from just inside the box.

But then the pendulum swung again.

Substitute Arnold Nsimbe looked through on goal and set to score on 77 minutes but took too long over his shot thus allowing the Irlam defence to snuff out the danger. No sooner had that chance gone begging, Liam Tongue was then put through on goal to drill home from the edge of the box.

Just two minutes after that an Irlam cross from the left found a blue-shirted free head but he got his bearings completely wrong and the ball troubled the corner flag more than it did our goal.

The tie was set to go either way and set to have that extra half-hour, but we were all spared even more of a soaking from the rain by its rather unfortunate ending.

Best of luck to Irlam in the quarter-final when they travel to Litherland REMYCA. We do battle again on Boxing Day for the league fixture.

TEAM: Samberg, Vincent, Pearson, Naughton, Dunn, Birch, Hincks, Tongue, Nolan (Nsimbe), Whyatt, Sherrington. SUBS: Nsimbe, Lee, C Jones, McLaughlin, Kennedy.