Smithswood Firs 0-0 Droitwich Spa (Firs win 7-6 on penalties)
By DSFC Admin
Battling Saltmen bow out of Cup in cruel fashion
A valiant performance from Spa was not enough to take them through the the Les James Challenge Cup Semi Finals, and ultimately a Final tie at the Bescot Stadium.
Smithswood started the game the better, and the usually deadly Chris Lloyd had two excellent chances to put the hosts ahead but he was off target on both occasions. John Flanaghan also had a decent opportunity in the opening quarter but he too could not break the deadlock.
From then on, Droitwich dominated possession, forced a string of corners and had plenty of efforts on goal, however 'keeper Jake Woodward did not have to work too hard as many efforts were off target, but Brad Burgess's powerful volley and Mike Seeley's header were the closest the visitors came.
The second half was more even yet followed a similar pattern to the first period - again Firs started the half looking more threatening. matt oliver made three decent saves from Flanaghan, Curtis Thomas and substitute Dan Charlton.
Droitwich also had several excellent chances after some impressive build-up play; Seabourne headed wide, Burgess missed the target and James Lemon had possibly the best chance as he was put through one on one with the 'keeper Woodward but he agonisingly shot millimeters the wrong side of the post from an angle. Mike Seeley almost caught Woodward out as his 40 yard dipping effort went narrowly over with the stopper scrambling to get back on his line.
However an entertaining game played in the right spirit ended goal-less and it was up to penalties to decide the winner of the tie - the Saltmen's fourth shoot-out of the season!
Some excellent quality penalties from both sets of players gave the 'keeper's no chance, however Spa were given a chance to win it as home Captain Curtis Thomas missed his spot kick in sudden death, but the following penalty from Andy Crowther was brilliantly saved by Woodward. Two penalties later Chris Glover fired his spot-kick over the bar and Firs claimed the victory.