Oakham United defeat Uppingham Town in the semi-final of the Rutland Cup
Oakham United twice battled back to defeat Uppingham Town and ensure a winning start for new boss Seb Hayes in his first competitive match back at the helm in Saturday's second semi-final of the Rutland Cup.
Rob Montgomery had twice given Peterborough Senior Cup winners Uppingham the lead but Oakham's new-look side of experienced campaigners and youth players progressing through their ranks refused to roll over and eventually emerged triumphant.
Town had been rapid out of the blocks and Josh Porter fired an early effort wide while Montgomery and Rob Forster continued to cut open the Oakham defence.
Montgomery saw two efforts saved in quick succession by home goalkeeper Andy Freeman before Ollie Lewin saw his header blocked from close range.
An opening goal was coming though and it duly arrived after 14 minutes when Forster's lively run and cross was dummied by Callum O'Berg for Montgomery to convert with his customary aplomb.
The goal seemed to galvanise Oakham though and Lewis Duncan fired over from distance as they targeted a swift response.
Uppingham continued to look dangerous when they attacked and Jonny Forster and Lewin both flashed shots at goal before Ben Easson set Lewis free with a precise pass only for Freeman to save well from close range.
The save would prove crucial as Oakham were back on level terms three minutes later as Adam Rothery nipped in ahead of goalkeeper Tom Hubbard and, although his initial effort hit the post, the Oakham player was quick to regain his composure and place home the rebound.
Duncan came close to giving Oakham the lead with a header from a Rothery cross before Freeman produced a speculative save to deny O'Berg from distance.
Uppingham then regained the lead five minutes before the break as Forster saw his initial effort saved with Montgomery pouncing to bundle home the rebound and give Town the advantage at the break.
They could have increased their lead early in the second period with O'Berg firing over when well placed before Easson's clipped pass released Montgomery but Freeman was again equal to the test with a solid save.
Rothery rattled the post for Oakham who then got back on level terms again with a superb strike from Stewart Lambie whose first-time effort flew into the Town net.
With both sides making a number of changes as the game entered the latter stages by bringing on several youth players which shows the future in bright for both Rutland clubs, Oakham could have hit the front for the first time as Phil Andre twice went close.
The winning goal then arrived with 10 minutes remaining as a strong run from Nicki Young created the opening for youngster Oli Cox to convert.
Tempers then became frayed in the final stages as Young was red-carded for retaliation before Uppingham had what they were thought were strong penalty appeals turned down in injury time as their appeals were waved away which saw Oakham progress to host Cottesmore in the final on Saturday, July 24.