DELIGHTED Church Stretton boss Scott Peever praised his side’s professionalism after they reached the Shropshire Challenge Cup quarter-final by beating Clee Hill United in a nine-goal thriller.

West Midlands Division Two high-fliers Stretton came from 2-0 down to progress 5-4 in testing conditions at the Herefordshire Premier Division’s reigning champions and current leaders.

Peever said: “Our attitude was superb. It was a horrible day on an awful pitch in terrible conditions. It was foggy and you could barely see both goals.

“It was one of those days you might think ‘what are we doing here?’ But the lads were spot-on. It would have been easy to fold at 2-0 down but we carried on and got our just rewards.”

Peever now wants his side to take that performance into Saturday’s league trip to Newport, looking to avenge a home defeat back in August and keep the pressure on top two Coven and AFC Bentley.

He added: “It’s getting to that stage of the season where pitches are getting heavier and you have to grind results out.

“No one is expecting free-flowing football and if we can start doing the ugly things, then we have a bit of quality to give ourselves a chance and hopefully pick up a few wins.”

Stretton had to do things the hard way at Clee Hill as Josh Carpenter’s angled shot from just outside the box put the hosts ahead and Sean Milward’s header from a corner made it 2-0.

Two pivotal moments then turned the game as United top scorer Carpenter fired a great chance straight at the keeper and Dean Richards halved Stretton’s deficit with a contentious penalty.

Stretton soon levelled as Clee Hill’s Kieran Hall turned a dangerous cross into his own net, then James Hill put the increasingly dominant visitors 3-2 up just before half-time.

Carpenter nodded the hosts level after the break but Hill restored Stretton’s lead and a fine Steve Towers strike made it 5-3 before Carpenter completed his hat-trick with a late penalty.

United boss Wayne Whitbread was unhappy with Stretton’s penalty and also felt there was a foul in the build-up to the visitors’ fourth goal but conceded: “On the day, they were the better team.

“Although you could say a couple of decisions were the difference, Stretton scored five and missed chances they might have taken on another day. They were the better side.

“We weren’t at our best and Stretton were sharper and played at a quicker pace, which is probably the sort of tempo they are used to playing at in the league they are in.

“Ours is perhaps a slower league and we control the pace of a lot of the games we play in the Herefordshire Premier."