Exiled Grecian's report covers matches played from Wednesday, May 2 to Saturday, May 5.
Alex Hartridge - Truro City - Vanarama League South
Wednesday, May 2 | Hampton & Richmond Borough 3-1 Truro City
As mentioned in last week's report, Alex Hartridge was in the starting XI for Truro's play-off quarter final defeat last week. Just as they had done in the final match of the regular season, Truro took the lead from another throw in that caused havoc in the hosts' box. In a goal that came totally out of the blue, 'Rocky' Neal was credited to have knocked the ball into the net amongst a crowd of players after just nine minutes.
The goal sparked an onslaught of attacks onto Truro's goal, with the visitors having Jojo Wollacott, on loan from Bristol City following an injury to Tom McHale, to thank for thwarting the hosts several times.
But Wollacott's brave efforts were not enough to prevent Hampton & Richmond from equalising before half time, Shandon Baptiste's effort deflecting into the path of Jack Cook, who drilled a left footed effort home on 31 minutes.
The second half proved to be an end-to-end affair, with both sides creating excellent chances. Ed Palmer rattled the crossbar for Truro from a free kick, while Connor Riley-Lowe was denied by Timothy Dieng from the spot. At the other end, Brendan Kiernan fired wide and Baptiste was denied by the legs of Wollacott late on.
The fresh legs of Bradley Hudson-Odoi proved to be the difference in extra time. The striker, whose younger brother Callum scored against City for Chelsea's U21s side in the Checkatrade Trophy in November, scored late in both halves to put his side through to the next stage of the play-offs.
- League: 24 appearances, 19 starts, 1,838 minutes, 1 goal.
- FA Cup: 3 appearances, 3 starts, 270 minutes*.
- FA Trophy: 2 appearances, 2 starts, 180 minutes.
2/5/2018, Hampton & Richmond Borough 3-1 Truro, played the full 120 minutes.
*Assumption made that he played the full 90 minutes vs AFC Sudbury in 3rd Qualifying Round.
Joel Randall - Taunton Town - Evo-Stick South West
Saturday, May 5, Taunton Town 4-2 Beaconsfield Town
Taunton Town came out on top in the Evo-Stik Southern Champions of Champions match against South, East winners Beaconsfield Town. Joel Randall retained his place in the starting XI.
As they have done on numerous occasions throughout this title winning season, Taunton started off the better side, sending a number of early efforts wide of goal. Ryan Brett eventually gave the Peacocks the lead on 11 minutes, hitting a low shot from the left across the keeper.
Despite the hosts' good start, Beaconsfield turned the game on its head before half time. Scott Cousins' curling free kick tamely went in off the post on the half hour mark, while Lee Barney tapped into an unguarded net five minutes later as Lloyd Irish parried a shot into his path.
The hosts rallied in the second half and were level within five minutes when Dan Sullivan played in Joel Randall down the right of the area, with the City loanee calmly slotting under the 'keeper with a first time finish.
Craig Veal replaced Randall on 72 minutes and, just a few moments later, was brought down in the box as he was readying himself to shoot. Skipper Matt Wright smashed the resulting penalty straight down the middle for his 29th goal of the campaign.
The game was won shortly after, when Sullivan excellently controlled a half clearance in the box before hitting a half-volley on the turn which was headed beyond the keeper by a defender.
- League: 9 appearances, 6 starts, 514 minutes, 1 goal.
- Champions of Champions game: 1 appearance, 1 start, 72 minutes, 1 goal
5/5/2018, Taunton 4-2 Beaconsfield Town, played 72 minutes, scored the second goal.
*These stats aren't recorded on any website, so the minutes played is an estimate based on time-stamps on social media or match reports. Does not include stoppage time.