Football: Shoot-out drama in all-Union semi

John Towse

John Towse

First published in Sport

UNION Rovers reached their second Beckett League cup final of term – but only after a penalty shoot-out with their reserve team.

Union led the Gordon Harrison Memorial Trophy semi-final 2-0 but were stunned as Union 2nds hit back with two goals in the last 90 seconds to send the tie to spot-kicks.

It was finally decided with the last of 10 penalties, as Richard Abbey, normally Mr Reliable for Union 2nds, saw his weak effort well saved by John Towse.

The 2nds had started the game well with the wind advantage but failed to score and the first team took the lead two minutes before half-time when a superb cross by Nicky Todd saw Nicky Drew score with a fantastic header.

Second-team goalkeeper Ian Fraser made a couple of impressive saves to keep his side in the game but 10 minutes into the second half the first team doubled their lead when Danny Simpson scored with a great strike.

It seemed like the contest was over, but the 2nds kept plugging away and, with 90 seconds left, Abbey scored to give his side hope.

Within a minute, Paul Downes equalised from a Luke Dawson cross to force the shoot-out.

The first team scored all five of their penalties, through Drew, Paul Holder, Anthony Taylor, Dean Sleighthome and Simpson.

The 2nds levelled in the shoot-out four times through Dawson, Ryan Cooper, Downes and Chris Hodgson, before Abbey’s mishap.

The men of the match were 2nds centre-back David McBurnie and first-team midfielder Drew.

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