By Ben Bowers
After a weekend that saw Chelsea and Manchester City both beaten by lower league opposition in the FA Cup, Grey College C were the latest side to claim ‘giantkiller status’ in the Knockout Trophy as they reached the quarter-final, coming from a goal down to defeat Hild Bede D 3-1. In a year that has witnessed some astonishing results, including Hild Bede C’s 17-0 drubbing over Hatfield Galacticos, the Division Two leaders became the latest victims of Grey’s march to the last eight. The march began with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Division One Ustinov A, before another underdog story saw the Hill college routinely trounce Division Two Josephine Butler C, winning 5-0.
The third round tie was hailed as a great opportunity by both Grey skipper Ben Bowers and Hild Bede’s Daniel Barcroft in the days leading up to the tie, with a quarter-final against Josephine Butler, Division One’s top side, the reward for the victors.
Watched by an unusually large crowd upward of twenty, Hild Bede started well and took the lead through Struan Clark. However, this was to be as good as it got for the Division Two pace-setters. Goalkeeper Harry Mistry had to be at his best to deny Bowers before keeping out Elliot Duffy’s penalty in a tense first-half devoid of much action.
Half time, however, brought a change in fortune for Grey. Goals from Harry Wibberley, Jacob Green and an own goal turned the tie on its head, sending the underdogs into a 3-1 lead. As desperation grew in the Hild Bede camp, so too did the task in front of them. Barcroft was dismissed for a second booking – both of which were picked up for actions of dissent in the direction of a referee who angered both sides with some remarkable inconsistency.
With little to worry the Division Three minnows thereafter, Grey claimed their third major scalp in as many rounds. Wibberley, who grabbed the equaliser, said after the game, “we knew we could beat them, even after we went behind we knew we could still come back. Their heads went and we made the most of it.”
Daniel Barcroft echoed Wibberley’s thoughts, describing his own side’s performance as “pretty atrocious.” His Hild Bede side now turn their attention back to the league, with the captain asking, “who wants to win the cup anyway?”
Grey C vs Josephine Butler A – 21st February
Photograph: Ben Bowers