Penalty Shoot out disaster for Albion
By Phil Chadwick
Report kindly supplied by Paul Harper
Witton Albion let a two-goal lead slip to lose out on a place in the Mid-Cheshire District FA Senior Cup Final after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Winsford United at Wincham Park.
After 90 minutes, the game ended 2-2 with Rob Hopley netting on the stroke of half time before playing a big part in Witton's second which resulted in Liam Delaney putting past his own goalkeeper. Winsford fought back strongly in the final quarter of the game and goals from Rhys Saunders and David Short took the game to a shoot out.
After a number of misses, Clayton McDonald gave the visitors the victory by scoring the decisive spot kick.
There were few goalscoring opportunities in the first half, in a scrappy opening 45 minutes. Albion created the better of those which were created, Delial Brewster forcing Winsford goalkeeper Michael Langley into a couple of smart saves, as did Will Booth after a strong run from midfield.
At the other end, young shot-stopper Jake Eastwood kept Albion in the game by saving a stinging effort from David Short.
Seven minutes before the break, Rob Hopley was introduced into the action to replace the injured Cesaire Lingouba and the skipper was in the thick of things on the stroke of half time as he nodded home from Will Booth's right wing corner kick.
Carl Macauley made another change at the start of the second half with Tom Owens replacing Josh Wardle.
12 minutes into the second period, Witton's advantage was doubled as Hopley fired a powerful shot towards goal. Langley parried onto his own defender Liam Delaney and the ball ricocheted into the net.
Dean Clarke had a golden chance to reduce Winsford's deficit. Eastwood made a smart save with the ball falling at the feet of Clarke six yards out but he somehow smashed the ball high over the stand with the goal gaping.
Witton's final change of the game saw Greg Hall replace Eastwood between the sticks.
The visitors were building pressure on the home team's goal and that pressure told on 68 minutes when they pulled a goal back.
The strike came after Matty Coughlan had cleared a shot off the goal line, Rhys Saunders finishing with a header which beat Hall who got his hand to the effort but couldn't keep the ball out.
Brewster had an effort after getting onto a long ball forward, but his shot went harmlessly wide before the scores were drawn level.
A shot from the edge of the penalty area was scuffed and fell at the feet of the onrushing Short who took a touch before slamming the ball past Hall and into the back of the net.
And so the game went to a penalty shoot-out.
Witton failed to convert their first two efforts. Will Booth had his penalty saved while Billy Smart missed the target, dragging his shot wide.
Hall saved from Winsford skipper Ryan Hopper while Damian Skolorzynski hit the post to send it to sudden death at 3-3 after all the other strikes were scored.
Coughlan hit the bar for Witton giving Clayton McDonald the chance to win it for Winsford, and he sent Hall the wrong way to take his team into the final.