Lowly Råsunda from division seven put up a brave fight against the Stripes who play in 3 leagues above them, but their valiant cup run was cut short by a professional Långholmen performance that exposed the gulf between the two sides.
The home team had 3 bonus penalties before the game started; the first was rifled into the net, the second scuffed wide, and the third skidded into the corner despite debut stripes keeper Ben getting a hand to it. So Råsunda (playing in white) started 2 goals up and looked determined to hang on and create an upset.
Långholmen however hadn’t read the giant killing script for this one… and came flying out of the blocks. This fast start was rewarded with two quick goals of their own in the first 15 minutes, and they were both crackers.
Colm Kenny kept the ball in play out on the right, turned his man and found Harkness on the edge of the box. A sublime first touch bought him some space, but rather than shoot he rolled the ball inside to Pete Mac, who slipped it to Burris. Otis took a touch and off balance guided the ball past the statuesque French keeper to reduce the deficit.
The Stripes second goal really embodied the magic of the cup; a magnificent solo effort from young Erik Thorell – his first senior goal for Långholmen. Instant control put him into space down the left flank; cutting inside his quick feet dummied a couple of defenders before smashing a shot inside the near post from an impossible angle. Pure class.
Once parity had been achieved the Stripes continued to dominate, but the cutting edge seemed to be blunted. There was a slight tendency to overplay and the game lacked width at times. There were a couple of headed chances went begging from corners, and shots from distance flew just wide. Råsunda did not offer too much going forwards, but they fought hard for the ball and kept the Stripes honest. The referee seemed keen to even things up too so the Stripes needed to be patient and keep their foot down.
At half-time the Stripes looked comfortable but just maybe should have made their dominance in the first 45 pay. The second forty five started a little sluggishly, and Ben was called on to make an important stop from a defensive error; The keeper saving well with his legs in a 1 on 1 situation to hide some Northern Irish blushes. The stripes were also denied a clear penalty as Thorell was chopped down (and injured) running through on goal only for the whistle man (adding insult to injury) to call it a dive.
That was the wake up call that Långholmen needed; they accelerated through the gears to create a hatful of chances, score two more goals and end any chance of an upset in this quarter final.
The first was a penalty. Kenny was clean through only to be hacked just as he was about to pull the trigger. Up stepped Billy Harkness to send the keeper the wrong way and put the stripes in the driving seat. The second was a fine move that ended with Sammba taking the ball around the keeper and rolling it into the empty net to collect his seventh goal in 3 games.
The Stripes rang the changes to conserve some energy for a vital league game on Saturday. Flavio made a powerful contribution full of lethargic energy and sharp indifference. Paul Sullivan stepped into the centre of defence and marshalled things from there. Philips and O’Sullivan jogged up and down the left wing for a bit, and there was a welcome cameo from Vilhelm ‘One Sock’ Sund who returned after an ankle injury.
There was still time for disco dancing Wille Karlsson to sprint through and chip the keeper from 30 yards, but his shot bounced once and then unluckily hit the bar to deny him a deserved reward for a solid and committed performance.
Fair play to the Råsunda squad, they worked incredibly hard and deserve some credit for pushing the Stripes all the way. But it is Långholmen who are through to the semi-final of the Stockholm Cup, a milestone in itself since this is the furthest that the team have ever progressed in the competition.
The only downside of the evening being the infernal music (identified as hectic swing) blaring from the circus tent behind the dugout – Not that it affected the stripes rhythm and we can look forward to another mouth-watering contest in the semis.
Ben (GK); Thorell (LB), Ahmed (D), Mcclelland (D), Karlsson (RB), Harkness© (RM), Larsson (CM), Burris (LM), Mcconnell (LM), Kenny (CF), Sammba (CF): Subs: Sullivan (45), Flavio (45), Philips (52), O’Sullivan (60), One Sock Sund (70)
MOTM – Wille Karlsson. Fearless, worked hard and made the right decisions.
Ref Watch – The less said the better. 1/5.
Långholmen FC’s next league game of the season is on Saturday 18th June at Essinge IP against Boo IF – KO 14:00.
Hope to see you there.