A hat-trick from Dean Boyd and one from Byron Lear ensured Battle Baptists reached the last eight of the National Christian Cup on Saturday.
Baptists knocked out one of the favourites for the prestigious knockout competition after winning 4-2 away to FC Cornerstone in a bruising contest that showed both teams in a golden halo.
Travelling to Stevenage, the ADA East Sussex Football League Division One high-flyers knew they would have to be at their best to beat an FC Cornerstone side which lost on penalties in the final of last year’s competition.
On a 3G pitch at the home of Luton Town’s youth development team, the hosts sprayed the ball around confidently in the early stages and Battle were behind inside 20 minutes.
As Battle settled into their game, Adam Thompsett and Boyd went close before Boyd bagged the equaliser with a crashing shot from 18 yards which the goalkeeper could only palm into the top corner.
Battle took the lead shortly before the break when Boyd again hit the net, this time with a fierce strike that burned the goalkeeper’s gloves and rolled over the line.
When Battle scored again, it was against the run of play. Boyd broke from defence into attack, piercing the home team with lightning pace and calmly lifting the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to complete an impressive hat-trick.
The home side piled on more pressure, hitting the frame of the Baptists’ goal three times as the two sides traded punches. When the home side finally found a goal to raise hopes of revival, substitute Lear thumped home Battle’s fourth in the 83rd minute to stretch the lead once more.
The Baptists now look forward to a home quarter-final in March when the visitors will herald from Bradford, Burnley or Liverpool. See Friday’s Battle Observer for a full report.