Rovers edge past Oracle to reach the cup semi-finals

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Hemel Rovers have made it through to the Herts Junior Cup semi-final after riding their luck in a 3-2 victory against Oracle FC.

Hemel made a flying start to the game after a defensive slip by an Oracle centre-back allowed Connor Deadman to put Rovers ahead after just one minute. But this was Hemel’s first game for a month and it showed as the hosts stretched them to the limit with their fast and direct approach.

The Rovers full-backs could not cope with the marauding Oracle front line, and the equaliser came after 15 minutes when a shot into the crowded Hemel penalty box cannoned off two defenders before wrong-footing keeper Dan Brown and slowly rolling into the net.

This inspired the hosts and they continued to stretch the Rovers back line, before a change of personnel at half-time brought about a change in Hemel’s play.

The game evened itself out, with chances at both ends, but it was Oracle who took the lead on the hour mark after some slack Rovers marking.

Within 10 minutes, Hemel were back on level terms as a long through-ball to Deadman saw him about to go round the keeper when he was hauled down for a penalty.

Although the home keeper only received a yellow card, he was helpless as Neal Perrin buried the resulting spot kick.

With the game looking like it could go either way, it was left to Rovers keeper Brown to bring off some unbelievable saves to keep his team in there with a chance.

With 15 minutes to go, Deadman hit a hard, low cross into the penalty area and Rhys Stonebank drove the ball into the Oracle net to win the game for Hemel.

A semi-final at Westmill is the next up for Rovers on March 7.