Manchester Central celebrated a last minute winning strike from Dan Burns against Heyside on Saturday to secure a 1-0 victory, and earn themselves a semi-final place in the Gilcryst Cup.
It was a tightly-contested match at The Manchester College, as the Manchester Football League Premier Division’s third- and fifth-placed sides sought to keep their cup runs going this season.
Visiting side Heyside sought to strike early in the first half of the match, playing with a relatively direct and high tempo, and seeking to test the defending of Paul McGuire’s men. However, the Central players stood up to the test resiliently.
Experienced Heyside striker James Curley combined well with his teammates for their best opportunity, but struck his effort off the post. For Central, Burns and Marcello Arhin both had chances but the sides went into the halftime interval level.
The first half also saw Central lose striker Josh Frith to injury, after a heavy tackle leaving the tricky forward unable to continue.
Following the break, the game began to become more evenly matched, as Central’s impressive fitness levels started to once again become a factor. McGuire’s men started to create more and more pockets of space around the Heyside defence but simply couldn’t find the back of the net.
In the opposite goal, Central’s goalkeeper Ben Jupp also spent the game pulling off some cup-worthy heroics, none more so than on 70 minutes when he denied what looked like a certain Heyside goal with a showstopping save. It demonstrated the fantastic reflexes of Central’s number one.
Jupp performed so impressively throughout the game, not putting a foot wrong at any stage in the game, that manager McGuire awarded him the man of the match award in his post-match interview.
That was despite the aforementioned heroics of Burns who, in added on time after the ninety, latched onto the end of a ball forwards that had bounced fortunately off of substitute Mauro Mendes when Heyside sought to clear it. Despite the element of luck in the ball breaking for Central, Burns still had plenty to do and showed brilliant composure to dispatch a game-winning strike past the onrushing Heyside goalkeeper.
It was a fantastic ending for McGuire and his players, whose celebrations were clear to see, and sees the side move on to face Beechfield United on April 20th in the Gilcryst Cup semi-finals.
Hear what Paul McGuire had to say after the game below
What a win…. wow. 😅😆 Talk about grit and determination. Here manager Paul McGuire's Post Match interview in his 100th game as Central Boss. pic.twitter.com/yQoBSBqLWC
— Manchester Central FC (@mcrcentralfc) February 23, 2019