Melbourn exit cup after shoot-out decider

MELBOURN bowed out of the Percy Oldham Memorial Cup in a penalty shoot-out on Saturday.

MELBOURN bowed out of the Percy Oldham Memorial Cup in a penalty shoot-out on Saturday.

Melbourn started poorly and found themselves 1-0 down within the first minute when a controversial free-kick was poorly defended and allowed the Debden centre-half to nod home from close range.

Debden increased their lead against the run of play when another free-kick was again headed past the Melbourn ‘keeper from close range.

Melbourn came out after half-time with purpose and began to play the kind of football that secured them promotion last season. Andrew Gray, so often the deliverer of long-throws, this time showed his feet can deliver just as dangerously. His free-kick was swung in superbly to find brother Jason on his own six yards out who planted a powerful header into the back of the net.

His next free-kick moments later found Watters at the far post who made no mistake to level the scores to take the game into extra-time.

The game opened out into an end-to-end affair and it was Debden who drew first blood midway through the second period when their forward took the ball on the edge of the box and rode three tired looking challenges before poking the ball home.

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Melbourn weren’t to be outdone, though, and in the last minute another fine free-kick into the box from Andrew Gray found brother Jason who volleyed through the ‘keeper’s legs from close range to take the game into penalties.

Despite the heroics of ‘keeper Mark Ferrari who saved three penalties it was Melbourn who succumbed to a disappointing defeat.

Next up for Melbourn is a home derby against Fowlmere in the league.

Melbourn: Ferrari, Patman, A Gray, Bryan, Monahan (Reynolds), Hassen (Edwards), J Gray, Staley, Wagstaff, Holt (Edwards), Watters.