Acorn 18 Milford 25
Acorns hopes of reaching the NCL Division one final disappeared in a 10 minute spell
York Acorns hopes of reaching the NCL Division one final ,disappeared in a 10 minute spell midway through the second half that saw their hosts, Milford turn an 18 - 8 defecit into a 25 - 18 home win and a place in the final against Normanton.
Acorn gave everything and more,but crucially a nasty head injury to key playmaker scrum half Lewis Brown and a shoulder injury to winger Matty Downes in the latter stages of the first half, was to eventually hurt Acorn in the long run.
Upto then , Acorn had been the better side in the first half despite literally handing the initiative to Milford in the opening minutes - when first losing the ball in the tackle deep in their own half and then to compound matters Milford scored a try in the third minute when stand off Zak Snellgrove put over a fligted kick to the wing and a spilt attempted catch saw full back Josh Nathaniel catch the loose ball and score an unconverted try in the corner to take a 4- 0 lead.
Acorn then began to gain control of the game and on the back of poor discipline by the home side, they managed to hit back as a result of some enterprising passing along their three quarters - which ended with centre Ryan Gallacher going over for a try which stand off Anthony Chilton added an excellent touchline conversion to push the Blue & Golds into a 4 - 6 lead.
A 27th minute penalty goal by Anthony Chilton pushed the visitors into a 4- 8 lead.
At this stage with excellent contributions coming from tackling machine , second rower Reece Rushworth and plenty of hard graft with ball in hand by prop forward Tim Stubbs - Acorn looked likely to go in at the break with the advantage.
Unfortunately an accidental clash of heads saw Acorn lose Brown first and then winger Downes with a shoulder injury following a collision going for a high ball.
Milford then drew level at 8 - 8 when they were fortunately awarded an unconverted try right in the corner through winger Elliot Watmough , despite a brilliant cover tackle from Gallacher that appeared to put the player and ball into touch just before he grounded the ball.
Despite the injuries Acorn managed to hold their form together at the start of the second half and they edged their noses back in front on 48 minutes, when a precision reverse clip kick by the impressive Anthony Chilton (motm) - resulted in the same player reacting quickest to ground the ball for a try he himself converted to put Acorn 8 - 14 in front.
Acorn were on a roll now and they seemed to have made the telling blow on 56 minutes , when a smart attacking kick close to the Milford try line ended with winger Jack Stewart squeezing in at the corner for an unconverted try that saw Acorn move into an 8 - 18 lead.
The game was always on the edge as far as discipline goes , with several flash points flaring up that saw players from both sides spend time in the sin bin.
It was a typical cup tie with no quarter given and non expected in return but it appeared that those back to back tries had put Acorn on the road to victory.
Unfortunately no one had shown Acorn the script and they then rallied to such an extent that they hit Acorn with a triple try scoring blast which ripped the game from Acorns grasp and Sent Acorn to defeat.
First on 65 minutes Milford scored an unconverted try out wide through centre Steve Bacon that saw them cut Acorns lead to 12 - 18.
Minutes later ,on 70 minutes Milford drew level at 18 - 18 when second rower Tom Wilson scored a try out wide which Snellgrove converted.
Then almost immediately Milford took the lead when loose forward James Barker ran the perfect line to cut through from the half way line and race 40m before sending the supporting Snellgrove in for a try he himself converted to give the hosts a 24 - 18 lead.
Milford then edged into a match winning 25 - 18 lead by virtue of a drop goal by hooker Josh Parle.
Acorn tried hard to get over the try line but were held up on several occasions.
The game then ended on a sour note for Acorn when they had captain Tom Hill sent off for an alleged head high shot....