Penalties drama for Beccles
Long Stratton 2, Beccles 2 aet (Beccles win 11-10 on penalties)Beccles began their Mummery Cup campaign - the competition that Beccles reached the final of last season - and a dramatic game ended in the Suffolk side winning on penalties.
Long Stratton 2, Beccles 2 aet (Beccles win 11-10 on penalties)
Beccles began their Mummery Cup campaign - the competition that Beccles reached the final of last season - and a dramatic game ended in the Suffolk side winning on penalties.
This season's campaign was to have a very difficult look to it, Long Stratton's small and compact pitch would not suit Beccles style of play and also the team had a distinctly unfamiliar look to it.
Beccles were missing seven first-choice players and the starting line-up contained seven who had played at centre back for the club previously and only three attacking outfield players, one of whom, new signing Sam McClean, had only met his team-mates just before kick off.
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So it is not surprise that Beccles took time to find their feet. It was 20 minutes into the game before the visitors had the first shot when following on Waterman corner, Howard's first-time volley skimmed the bar. It was the hosts who went closest to scoring on 22 minutes when Cable produced an outstanding fingertip save to claw away a close range header. The first half continued to be keenly fought with the home side just having the edge but Beccles were causing problems particularly from Wigg's long throws. From one such throw, McMorran headed wide. Just before the interval, centre half Lee Shaw had to leave the field injured to be replaced by Martin Myhill.
In the second half the home side took the lead, a through ball evaded the Beccles defence before Carl Izzard timed his run to shoot past Cable for the game's opener.
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This stung Beccles into action and following another Waterman corner, McMorran hit the bar with a firm header. McMorran turned provider on 65 minutes his long cross picked out Nick Day who was unable to convert at the far post.
Beccles upped their game, with McClean playing a lone role up front was impressing with his neat touch and ability to head the ball on. It was Waterman again who set him up but his strong shot was brilliantly saved.
Beccles at last got on level terms giving the scoreline a truer look when Wiggs long throw found Chris Mayhew ghosting in at the far post, his header across the keeper, found the net for 1-1.
The first period of extra time saw Beccles completely camped in the Long Stratton half but with very little to show for it save a cushioned header from Day and a snap shot from McClean.
The second half of extra time was much more even, the sweltering hot September day had sapped the energy and both sides were wary of making a mistake and with the game drifting towards the last minutes Beccles' Waterman provided a driven cross, headed in by McMorran, the second full-back to score on this day.
Joyous scenes followed but Long Stratton hadn't read the script and while Beccles started thinking of the next round they won a corner deep in added on time.
The whole Stratton team were in the Beccles penalty area and from the ensuing mel�e the referee controversially deemed the ball had crossed the line.
So an unbelievably nerve-jangling exciting penalty shoot-out ensued with the score 4-4 after 10 penalties, and then in sudden death every team member having to take a penalty on both sides.
Five times Beccles had to score to go through, five times they had to score to stay in the game and finally after 11 more penalties each the deadlock was broken by Martin Myhill.
A shame either team had to lose after a titanic struggle. Beccles received the dubious prize of a long trip to Brandon in the next round.
Beccles' game at home to Mattishall tomorrow has been cancelled as Beccles have players representing the league select team on that day. The Reserves travel to Caister Reserves, 4pm kick off.