Six of the best as Murton march into cup semi-finals

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MURTON can look forward to a home semi-final in the Mark Blake Memorial Trophy.

The on-form side will host Bishop Auckland Reserves on March 28, after both teams scored six goals to progress to the last four.

Hayden Pace kept up his outstanding run of goals, hitting another hat-trick for Murton

Murton were good 6-3 victors at Birtley, following up their 5-1 league win there seven days earlier.

Birtley actually started the brighter, and a cool 10th-minute finish by Thomas Illingworth had them in front. Jonathan Swift doubled the lead on 27 minutes, but Murton showed their intent by immediately pulling a goal back, and they duly equalised at 2-2 on 37 minutes before going ahead in the 40th minute.

It was 4-2 on the hour mark, and Murton added a fifth before Illingworth reduced the deficit with a well-taken free-kick.

Murton, though, ensured victory with a sixth goal two minutes from time.

Hayden Pace kept up his outstanding run of goals, hitting another hat-trick for Murton, backed by strikes from Ryan Brymer, John Llewellyn and sub Callum Milne.

Bishop Auckland Reserves came through a thrilling tie at Ebchester Consett Reserves, winning 6-4 after extra time, to clinch their semi-final trip to Murton.

Bishops twice led through Lewis Dunn in the first half, but Chris Parkin and Stephen Agnew (penalty) hauled Ebchester level.

The tie looked over when Tyler Thompson and sub Jordan Maughan fired Bishops 4-2 up in the second period, but Jamie Parkinson and Agnew again rallied the hosts, who were closer to a winner in normal time.

Bishops upped the tempo in extra time, with Dunn sealing his hat-trick before Liam Bain added a killer sixth goal.

Brandon United Reserves proved too strong for Ferryhill Town, cruising to a 7-0 home victory, despite a man-of-the-match display by visiting keeper Luke Brown.

Ben Pearson made the breakthrough, running 35 yards before firing into the top corner.

Dan McDonough added two smartly-taken goals in quick succession, and he completed his treble in the second half, after good work from Pearson.

Jack Bromley marked his fine show with a debut goal for United, then Pearson grabbed his second, after a lovely passing move, and 17-year-old Jeremy Allen added to Ferryhill’s woes with a cool chip over the advancing keeper.

Shildon Reserves exited the competition, losing 3-2 at Hartlepool Reserves, who will now visit Brandon United Reserves in the semi-final.

Ian Race fired Shildon in front, reacting first to a rebound off keeper Ryan Harrisskitt, but Pool rallied as Aaron Doyle’s long throw was deflected in and Lewis Murphy rifled home from an acute angle for 2-1.

Stephen Clifford slotted an equaliser after a long ball confused the defence and keeper, but Hartlepool won it on 80 minutes when Dom Swinbourne volleyed a Murphy cross into the bottom corner.

In the league, Coundon & Leeholme dropped their first points of the season, with in-form visitors Whitehill battling hard to come from behind for a 1-1 draw.

Coundon made the breakthrough from a corner, with star man Ian Maddison heading home.

The entertaining game remained even in the second half, but Whitehill levelled from a free-kick just outside the box, with Matty Smith expertly firing into the top corner of Kris Carr’s net.

Mark Peck shone for Whitehill.

Horsley Hill capitalised on Coundon’s draw to move two points clear, albeit having played four games more, after they beat Sedgefield NetPark 3-1.

Sedgefield took the lead midway through the first half when John Madison struck a thunderbolt of a free-kick which nestled into the top corner.

The South Tynesiders spurned some glorious chances, but came good in the second half, Levi Collins levelling before Adam Sharp and Adam Bell ensured all three points.

Sixth-placed Sherburn Village WMC and fourth-top Wheatley Hill WMC produced a close-fought 1-1 draw.

Sherburn’s keeper Lee Abbott made a great second-half save to deny Wheatley the opener, but the visitors eventually broke the deadlock on 68 minutes, thanks to a fine finish from Richy Carr.

Wheatley had defender Lewis Edwards sent off for a second bookable offence, and Sherburn capitalised on their man advantage to grab an 86th-minute equaliser, with Dan Chester heading home a left-wing corner.

Billy Harker was close to a last-gasp home winner, but his header skimmed the bar. Chris Brown shone for Sherburn, with Jack Hart best for Wheatley.

In midweek, Whitehill thumped Brandon United Reserves 9-2 to climb into fourth place.

Craig Mickle, Scott Hope and Daniel Addison netted doubles, backed by Matthew Smith, Alex McKie and Chris Martin. Daniel Robinson and Chris Boyle struck for United.