OLD Malton St Mary’s are on the cusp of making club history after reaching the final of the North Riding FA Saturday County Cup.
Striker Danny Fogg and goalkeeper Toby Wells were the heroes in the semi-final against Teesside League side Whinney Banks which was eventually decided by a thrilling penalty shoot-out.
Fogg scored both goals as the tie ended 2-2 and he also hit the winning penalty for a 4-3 success in the shoot-out after Wells had made two superb spot-kick saves.
Saints, the current York Minster Engineering Football League premier division leaders, reached the final of this competition only once before in 2010 but have never lifted the trophy, having lost to Cargo Fleet Social Club.
Said player-manager Darren Dunning: “In the year we won the treble (of league, Senior League Cup and York FA Saturday Senior Cup, in 2012) we didn’t take this competition too seriously.
“I didn’t really know much about it. The year after we didn’t enter it but this year we decided to enter.
“It’s a bit more prestigious than I first thought and there are a lot of good teams in it from around Middlesbrough and Teesside.
“It’s a priority for us this year and it would be great for everyone involved if we win it.”
The final will be on Wednesday, March 19 at Stokesley, against Thornaby Dubliners, conquerors of Acklam Steelworks in the last four.
Said Dunning: “They’re about fourth or fifth in the Teesside League, which is the same league as Whinney Banks. They’ll be a good team but it’s a cup final and is about who does it on the night.”
Saturday’s semi-final was played amid strong winds, which were in St Mary’s favour in the first half, though it was Whinney Banks who broke the deadlock.
They missed a penalty midway through the half but scored on the break after clearing a Saints corner.
Fogg equalised ten minutes later, finishing smartly from 18 yards into the bottom corner.
Old Malton played better against the wind in the second and took the lead through Fogg, chipping the goalkeeper after a good move. However, Whinney Banks levelled with a free-kick and it stayed 2-2 at full-time, with the tie going straight to penalties.
Dunning, brother Richard Dunning and Simon Cooke scored their spot-kicks but Callum Scott and Marcus Godsell missed.
Wells, though, made two athletic saves as the shoot-out finished 3-3 and went to sudden death.
Whinney Banks missed the target and Fogg put his penalty away to send the Ryedale side through.
Added player-boss Dunning: “Our ’keeper made two brilliant saves – and it was a good day for Danny Fogg.”
In the league, Old Malton have seen their lead cut to two points by Riccall, who, with two games in hand, are title favourites.
Dunning said: “Riccall are a good team – they’ve beaten us three times this year. But hopefully we can keep winning and see if they slip up.
“We’ve both got some tough games to come, and Huntington and Dunnington aren’t out of the race either.
“At squeaky-bum time, funny things can happen.”
“From a league point of view, it would be nice if all four teams were really involved at the end to make it exciting.”