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Fleet Town 3-2 Andover

A HAT-TRICK from striker Shea Saunders helped Fleet Town reached their second final of the season with a crucial semi-final win over rivals Andover in the Russell Coates Cup semi-final.

A QUALITY hat-trick by hot-shot midfielder, Shea Saunders lit up this cup tie and earned his side their second cup final place in a week.

The experienced Andover side had no answer to Saunders' electric pace and finishing power, and had they not been gifted two goals after blunders by Fleet keeper Carl Clayton, would have been overwhelmed by the in-form Fleet side, unbeaten in seven games now.

Having reached the final of the Aldershot Senior Cup by beating Sandhurst last Tuesday, Fleet now face Gosport Borough in the final of this prestgious competition at a date and venue to be arranged.

The re-shuffled Fleet side started nervously and keeper Clayton was beaten as early as the second minute when Andover wing-man, Mario Nurse struck the bar with a powerful shot.

But the response was immediate when Saunders out-paced his markers following a 15th minute free-kick and fired the ball past keeper Kieron Drake.

Three minutes later Saunders rattled the Andover defence again, this time running on to a pass from Ed Hare to beat Drake from a tight angle.

Fleet then threatened to run away with the game, but two inexplicable errors by Clayton gifted the visitors a lifeline.

A failed clearance on 39 minutes let in striker Justin Bennett who finished well, and four minutes later, another scuff set up Vince Rusher to equalise just before the break.

But after a second half struggle where Fleet found goals hard to come by, and a tactical substitution, Fleet finally forced their way through — and once again it was Saunders, who did the damge.

Latching onto a through ball from Ed Hare, the Irish under 21 international rounded his marker cooly and delicately chipped the ball over Drake to send Fleet final bound.

FLEET: Clayton, Parsons, Marshall, Murphy, Dadson, Black, Shea Saunders, Hare, Haley, (sub Chamberlain, 70 mins), Luffman, Moore, (Frampton, 47). Not used; Steele Saunders, Aymes, Arthur.

l Fleet return to league action on Saturday when they travel to Dartford. A supporters coach will be leaving Calthorpe Park at 11am.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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