THE eagerly-anticipated Wirral District FA Senior Cup semi-final between Cammell Laird and Mersey Royal produced a hard-fought encounter that was only decided in the last ten minutes.

Royal from the West Cheshire League made things very difficult for their counterparts from the North West Counties League and provided plenty of work for Lairds keeper Mike Dixon, who made a number of fine saves during the game, with the only effort from Adam Smith to beat him being offside.

The same can be said of Royal's keeper Dynan Jones-Carron who saved well on a number of occasions during a fixture that produced lots of passion and enthusiasm by both sides with a final appearance at stake.

With honours even at half time thanks to the defensive displays of Tyler Oates and Liam Siddorn (Royal) and Paul Jewell and Nick Lynch (Lairds) plus the industry of Paul Bathgate in mid-field.

The second period became more frantic as goal line clearances and missed chances became the norm and penalties looked to be the likely outcome to decide the game.

That is until 10 minutes from time when Lairds Captain Colm Lynch delivered a fine pass to Mike Furlong who found the top corner of the net with a superb shot from the edge of the area, that left the Royal keeper helpless.

That goal became the deciding factor and earned Lairds a one-nil victory and the right to play Vauxhalls in the final to be held in May.

So commiserations to the Royal for a battling display, but many congratulations to Lairds who have won this trophy on eleven previous occasions.