Keighley FA Challenge Cup quarter-final: Cross Hills 2 Oxenhope Rec 7

OXENHOPE moved into their sixth consecutive Keighley Cup semi-final with an impressive victory over their Craven League Premier Division hosts.

On a wet pitch that cut up as the game progressed, both sides played some good football. The West Yorkshire League side started the brighter as Owen Williamson put a through ball for Lee Reilly to run on to but his first-time shot hit the post.

Soon after Tom Marshall broke through the home defence but keeper Nathan Mullaney rushed from his line and brought him down. Reilly hit the resulting penalty firmly toward the bottom right but Mullaney redeemed himself with a superb full-length diving block.

On the quarter-hour the pressure eventually told. Williamson played in James Bailey and, from outside the box on the right, he hit an exquisitely-floated shot into the far top corner.

Five minutes later Bailey turned provider. A measured cross to the far post was met by the on-rushing Marshall with a stooping header.

On the half-hour Oxenhope made it three when a marauding run down the right by Luke Fleetwood saw him feed Marshall and his pass to Reilly was rifled home.

Rather than buckle, Cross Hills went on the offensive, hitting three identical dipping shots from distance that Oxenhope keeper Stu Devlin had to be alert to to make consecutive diving saves.

Minutes before the break a neat passing move saw Marshall cut through the defence and exchange passes with Reilly before hammering in his second.

After the break Marshall returned the favour for Reilly, whose composed strike made it five and the in-form striker clinched his hat-trick with a clever dink over the keeper after more good work from Marshall.

The Marshall-Reilly combination was now in full flow and man of the match Reilly claimed his fourth with a lob that went in at the far post for Oxenhope’s seventh.

Cross Hills never gave up the battle and on 70 minutes were rewarded when an in-swinging ball from the right was misjudged by Dan Scott and his defensive header looped in over keeper Devlin.

In the dying minutes Scott Nelson was dispossessed and a Cross Hills’ striker blasted home a second consolation to end a thoroughly entertaining cup tie played in the right spirit.

On Saturday Oxenhope host Leeds Modernians in the league (2pm).

Oxenhope Reserves’ Keighley Supplementary Cup quarter-final tie with Keighley Veterans fell to the weather. This weekend they travel to Pool Reserves (2pm).

Oxenhope: Devlin, Nelson, Scott D (Snowden), Hopkinson, Fleetwood, White, Scott L, Williamson, Reilly, Bailey (Ward), Marshall.