KENDAL County gained revenge for their 2-1 defeat to Ambleside United in last year’s Westmorland Senior Challenge Cup final with a 3-0 success over their rivals on Saturday.
The game was always likely to be a hard-fought, physical encounter and that became apparent in the first minute when a challenge on Ambleside’s Craig Edmondson resulted in the centre back being taken to hospital for a suspected broken leg. It later transpired he damaged his ligaments and he is likely to miss the rest of this season because of the injury.
Joe Baker scored on the break in the first half for County despite Ambleside playing well, but from then Ambleside struggled in the second half as the game became a long-ball affair.
Adam Pashley scored after the break before Oli Wilson got a goal after the ball hit him in the face as County ran out 3-0 victors.
The win sets up a mouth-watering derby with Kendal United in the semi-final in what will be the first time the sides have met since United re-formed in 2005.
United confirmed their second semi-final berth of the season following their remarkable 1-0 success over Appleby to reach the last four of the Westmorland Benevolent Trophy two weeks ago with a 2-1 win over West Lancashire Division Two basement club Milnthorpe Corinthians.
Cameron Stewart gave United a deserved lead after heading in a Jay Turner cross but Milnthorpe equalised when a Jason Dixon free kick was saved by the Kendal keeper, but Milnthorpe were on hand to finish the rebound to make honours even at half time.
Turner got sent off in the second half for United but the dismissal seemed to galvanise Kendal further and in the 75th minute, a neat one-two between Matt Regan and Jason Tucker gave Regan space to score from the edge of the box as United hit the front once again.
United were the better team and they had a goal disallowed after they took the lead, but United had done enough to set up a semi-final Kendal derby against County.
The other semi-final looks every bit as appetising after the Bluefin Westmorland League’s top two Appleby and Keswick won.
It took Appleby extra time to get past Lunesdale United as they put their previous two defeats behind them.
There was very little between the two sides in the early exchanges but Lunesdale took the lead after half an hour in bizarre fashion when a cross ballooned high and caught keeper Richardson off guard in the only goal of the first half.
The second half was again scrappy and Lunesdale doubled the lead through Ellwood at the second attempt.
With quarter of an hour left Appleby got one back after a goalmouth scramble saw Birkbeck bundle the ball over from close range, and with five minutes remaining, Birkbeck fired high into the net from a corner after the ball came to him in the six yard box.
After 10 minutes of extra time, Armstrong calmly slotted home a penalty after Dent was impeded in the box and Appleby held on for victory.
Full back Johnston was sent off for foul language and Emmerson was dismissed for a second bookable offence as Lunesdale were reduced to nine men at the end of the game.
In a fierce Keswick versus Wetheriggs United tie, Keswick had a goal disallowed and a penalty appeal denied as the game was tied at half time.
Keswick took the lead when Hilton swung in a near post corner to find Bannister quickest to the ball and he turned it in from close range.
Within five minutes some lovely build-up play resulted in Lamb crossing for Bannister, who lost his marker and beat the keeper to the ball to make it 2-0.
The two goals knocked Wetheriggs back and Jamie Little’s solo effort made the game safe as Keswick prevailed 3-0.