Stamford Lions defeat Spilsby Town in Lincolnshire Junior Cup clash
Stamford Lions edged into the next round of the Lincolnshire Junior Cup after winning a 5-4 thriller in extra time against Boston League leaders Spilsby Town on Saturday.
The first round clash was an eventful game that had two red cards, sin bins, a last minute penalty and an extra-time winner.
Lions got off to a dream start when Luke Ball opened the scoring in the first minute of the match when he slotted into the bottom corner.
The newly-introduced sin bin was then used as first a Spilsby Town player was sent from the field for a 10-minute period before Kieran Duffy-Weekes followed only minutes later for an over exuberant discussion with a visiting player.
The visitors drew level on the half-hour mark with an excellent strike that nestled into the bottom corner.
The game coasted to half-time locked at one apiece which was a fair scoreline as both sides had half chances but neither were really dominant.
The second period saw both teams raise the tempo as Spilsby struck first to take a 2-1 lead 10 minutes from the restart with a neat finish at the far post before Ball scored his second on the hour to equalise with a calm finish from just inside the area.
The game hotted up as both sides now craved the victory and a monster throw-in from Tom Fearn was met by a Tom Edwards header that flew down and past the keeper to put Lions back in front.
Once more the lead was short-lived though as a free-kick was launched into the Lions area and goalkeeper Alex Dresser raced out to collect the cross.
As he did his boot was high which caught a Spilsby player flush in the chest. The referee deemed it dangerous play and a straight red card was shown.
Iain Brockbank took on the goalkeeping duties but could not do anything to prevent the resulting penalty from going in to make it 3-3.
Lions now had their backs to the wall but were defending deep and the tireless work-rate of Ball and Edwards up front kept the visitors defence occupied.
With only a minute remaining, Jack Travers picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and jinked his way past a defender and unleashed an excellent drive that flew into the bottom corner to give Lions a 4-3 lead after 89 minutes.
Spilsby poured forward desperately looking for an equaliser, but the 10 men of Lions were standing firm despite the game unexpectedly going into seven minutes of injury time.
Duffy-Weekes then went to ground and hooked the ball clear but this was seen as being done unfairly by the referee who awarded a penalty with the last kick of the game.
Brockbank again could do nothing as the spot kick was tucked right into the corner to send the match into extra time.
Lions again retreated and looked to defend deep hoping for a breakaway which came in the 100th minute when Fearn charged down the Spilsby centre-back before robbing him of the ball.
As he raced down on the keeper, he lifted his shot high into the top corner and Lions were once again in the lead.
The second period of extra time saw the Stamford side penned in their own half but defending well.
With five minutes remaining, Spilsby had the ball in the net but this was rightly flagged offside despite desperate pleas from the visitors.
The last few minutes were tense as Spilsby were throwing everything at a solid Lions defence.
Tempers then flared as a visiting player spat at Duffy-Weekes and was shown a red card as both sets of players were ordered to calm down.
The final whistle soon followed with Lions having won a dramatic cup match which has earned them another tie against Boston League opposition in the next round as they will visit Swineshead Institute on November 2.
Manager James Sheehan commented: “What a match. It had all the ups and downs of a proper cup encounter.
“I’m so pleased we won it, not just to be in the next round but it was a test of character which ended up feeling like a personal battle and the lads dug in and got a very well-deserved win.
“Spilsby are a good side and have a 100 per cent record in their league this season so we were prepared for a battle and that is what it was.
“I have my own view on the sin bin, red card and late penalty decision and they differ to that of the referee but, in the end, he is the one with the difficult task of making these decisions during a tense match and we respect him for that.”