The SAL representative team slipped out of the FA Inter League Cup at Uxbridge this afternoon, losing to the only goal against the Teesside League having played 63 minutes with ten men against a very fast, physical opposition.
The opening exchanges were even but the visitors' quick counter attacking had begun to stretch the SAL defence when skipper Arren Sutcliffe conceded a penalty after fourteen minutes. The kick was good but Sutcliffe's Nottsborough clubmate George Thomas dived to his right to parry the shot and preserve parity.
Teesside continued to play on the break and it was a through ball that turne Thomas' game upside down as he handled outside the area and, as the last defending player, was shown the red card by the referee on 27 minutes. The SAL's very own Teessider - Dan Ashley - took over between the sticks for the free kick which was not converted.
The dismissal appeared to galvanise the SAL and they began to make inroads at the other end with Dan Barber twice going close and having a penalty appeal turned down shortly before half time. A good save from the Teesside 'keeper kept the game goalless which it still was at half time.
In the second half the Teessiders again began brightly but the SAL again worked their way back into the game and a fast paced tussle ensued with the crucial breakthrough coming on 73 minutes when a ball over the back four gave the Teesside striker the opportunity to lob home as Ashley came out to narrow the angle.
Jordan Greaves and Andy Barrell both came on to help take the battle to the visitors but, although the ball spent a fair amount of time in the Teesside final third in the last ten minutes, the defence and goalkeeper stood firm and the SAL were destined to miss out.
Bob Leeds, Pat Folan and the team were bitterly disappointed to miss out on the chance of second final but they should not overlook their performance which showed grit and determination against worthy opponents, a man down for most of the game.