Russon comes up big in penalty win
Stamford Lions booked their place into the semi-finals of the PFA Senior Cup after coming through a dramatic penalty shoot out.
Goalkeeper Jimmy Russon pulled off two penalty saves before captain Danny Sheehan stepped up to place his spot kick in the top corner and seal victory against Warboys Town following a 2-2 draw.
Lions started on the front foot and Ryan Brown soon tested the keeper with a fierce shot that was palmed away. Jake Walton then went close as he raced away from the defence but arrowed his shot just wide of the upright.
The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark when a Lions free kick was headed clear by the visitors, Sean O’Donnell picked up the clearance and unleashed an excellent strike from 20 yards that flew into the top corner.
O’Donnell thought he had doubled the lead five minutes later when he slotted in a Walton cross but the goal was over ruled by a linesman’s flag for offside.
Warboys carried a threat from set plays and almost drew level when an in swinging corner was curling in the wind, Joe Lippett got his head to it but sent the ball towards his own goal and Russon had to clear off the line.
It was no surprise the equaliser came from a set piece as a corner again swirled in the blustery wind before being headed home.
As the half time whistle approached Lions thought they had snatched the lead when O’Donnell curled his shot around the keeper, the ball stuck the inside of the post and rolled towards the net before a desperate keeper hurled himself at it and flicked the ball away with the referee unsure if the whole ball had crossed the line - no goal was given.
The second half started at a fast pace, the Lions attacked down the wings and Walton was especially dangerous with several mazey runs that left the Warboys defenders turned inside out.
Brown sent a header over the bar when he should have scored before O’Donnell was guilty of the same, missing a close range header.
Rob Forster was introduced off the bench and made an immediate impact as he made a darting run at the heart of the Warboys defence, he skipped past three challenges before sliding the ball into the feet of Brown who took one touch before slamming his shot home to restore Lions’ lead.
The lead was short lived as the winger cut inside Lippett and wrong footed Russon before guiding his shot into the net. With just ten minutes to go both teams set out to win the game,
Forster flashed a shot just wide and with just a minute remaining the Warboys forward was played in and found himself one-on-one with Russon, as the ball was placed low heading for the bottom corner the Stamford keeper pulled out an outstanding save to deny a certain winner and send the game to penalties.
Russon carried his form into the shoot out as he pulled off two fantastic dives to save the first two Warboys penalties.
Brown, O’Donnell and Sam Bush all scored their spot kicks, that just left captain Sheehan to step up and with his successful penalty send the Stamford Lions through to the semi finals where Langtoft await.
Stamford Lions: Jimmy Russon, Luke Ball, Sean Kelly, Sam Bush, Joe Lippett, Danny Sheehan, Jack Travers(Barry Burton), Jake Walton, Tom Edwards(Rob Forster) Ryan Brown, Sean ODonnell
(Subs James Sheehan, Michael Webb)