Steeton 0

Oswestry Town 0 (3-5 pens)

STEETON crashed out of the North West Counties League First Division Cup following a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

The game got off to a lively start, with Steeton’s Ben Clarkson seeing his header fly just wide of the post. However, the visitors soon found their feet and showed why they are second in their division.

David Howarth’s 20-yard strike was palmed away by debutant Danny Thorpe, who produced a brilliant double save to also deny Simon Smith from the follow-up.

Just minutes later Howarth thought he had broken the deadlock, only for his effort hit the woodwork. This was only the start of an impressive afternoon for the keeper, with manager Roy Mason praising his “good physical presence” and “excellent organisation of his defence”.

The home side grew into the half, with a late flurry of chances seeing Toby Jeffery’s free-kick go just wide of the post, and Ryan Canning’s goal-bound header cleared at the last minute. Despite this, neither side found the back of the net and the game was goalless at half-time.

Steeton were the better side after the break, with striker Jack Richmond impressing throughout the half.

Andy Boote and Angus Maney were brought on to refresh the hosts’ attack, as they ploughed men forward at every opportunity.

At times, this left them exposed, with Christian Seargeant’s marauding run into the box requiring a last-ditch tackle from the Steeton defence to keep the scores level.

Oswestry’s right-back was lucky not to concede a penalty with a rash tackle on Maney, only being spared as the ball rolled out of play.

Richmond squandered the best chance for the hosts midway through the half when he lost his footing at the crucial moment, as just minutes later, Clarkson’s free-kick from the edge of the box looked destined for the top corner, and was only denied by a good save from Springthorpe in the Oswestry net.

Steeton looked to be heading for the win in the dying minutes, as Richmond’s shot created pinball in the box, however neither substitutes Maney nor Price could convert.

Price’s 20-yard effort proved the last action of the game, as his shot flew well over the bar. Finishing goalless, the tie headed straight to penalties.

Richmond’s penalty was saved by Springthorpe, and with all the other spot-kicks finding the net, Michael O’ Reilly’s strike down the middle found the back of the net to seal it for the visitors.

Despite the result, Steeton manager Roy Mason was still impressed with his side’s performance and felt that his side were unlucky to have been knocked out of the cup.

He said: “It just feels a little bit disappointing that we’ve lost the shoot-out, but overall it’s a massive confidence boost for the lads.

“I’ve had a little word with Jack, but I leave the penalties to those that actually want to take one rather than nominate them myself.

"You’ve always got to be a bit brave to step up and take one, and unfortunately the keeper’s gone the right way and he’s made a good save.”

“Let’s not forget that if it was a league game and we got a 0-0 draw against them we would be saying what a great result it is, and we’ve stopped the rot a little bit.”

Steeton: Thorpe, Goodall, Scott, Canning, Morgan, Hird, Jeffery (Maney 62), Stein (Boote 52), Clarkson, Briggs (Price 82), Richmond. Unused subs: Leach, Ferguson

Oswestry: Springthorpe, Cole, Courtney (Burton 80), Jarman, J O’Reilly, Seargeant, Smith, Lloyd, Howarth (M O’Reilly 74), Partridge, S Jones. Unused subs: M. Jones, Renshaw, Newton