Asfordby U18s hold nerve to claim cup final spot

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Asfordby FC U18s made it through to the Stuart Baldwin President’s Cup final after holding their nerve to win a semi-final penalty shoot-out.

Having completed their league programme, Asfordby travelled to Fleckney after finishing second in the Premier Division and reaching the semi-finals of the league cup.

Fleckney had narrowly won all three of their previous meetings this season, and Asfordby knew they were in for another tough game as they travelled with just 12 fit players.

Fleckney made the perfect start with an early goal and doubled their lead after exploiting some defensive frailties.

Asfordby stepped up the pressure in the second half and were rewarded with Brown’s stunning 20-yard strike.

With time running out, and looking by all accounts it was not going to be Asfordby’s day again, another stunning strike from Dawkin with just a few minutes left sent the game into extra time.

Legs were beginning to tire on both sides and Fleckney went ahead early in the first period.

But Asfordby’s heads did not drop and they were rewarded when Brown tapped in his second after a goalmouth scramble.

The second half was a display of character and desire not to concede and both teams seemed happy to hear the final whistle.

Asfordby took the lead for the first time in the game when Spencer made a great save to his left, leaving them 3-2 ahead on penalties.

But the lead proved short-lived as Asfordby also missed a spot kick to leave it four-all and the sides facing sudden death.

Spencer saved Fleckney’s first sudden-death penalty and Lomas stepped up with confidence to bury the winning penalty into the bottom corner and send Asfordby through to the final.

A great game for any neutral and a real testament to both sets of managers.

Asfordby now meet Huncote in the final on Wednesday, May 23 (ko 7.30pm) at Birstall United FC.

Asfordby: L. Spencer, B. Harrison, C. Bunn, M. Wesson, J. Brown, J. Shelley, A. Lomas, J. Dawkin, A. Cowan, H. Ashman, H. Murch, M. Rowland.