Rangers win on penalties
Bishop s Stortford Youth 4 Herts Rangers 4 (Herts Rangers win 3-1 on penalties) THE previous day saw one of the finest FA Cup finals in the past 50 years, with spectacular goals, gritty determination, a two goal comeback and a penalty shoot-out. The ga
Bishop's Stortford Youth 4 Herts Rangers 4
(Herts Rangers win 3-1 on penalties)
THE previous day saw one of the finest FA Cup finals in the past 50 years, with spectacular goals, gritty determination, a two goal comeback and a penalty shoot-out.
The game gave a clear message - in football it's never over until the final whistle.
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And on Sunday we saw just that.
The opening exchanges saw Rangers keeper Jack Hollis the busier of the goalkeepers as an influential Jacob Ryan probed balls into the box and the speed of Alfie Prosser caused problems for the Herts defence.
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It was Prosser who opened the scoring for Stortford, latching onto an excellent Luke Port through ball and calmly slotting the ball past the oncoming Hollis with the outside of his right boot.
Moments later and another through ball to Prosser caught Rangers' defence off guard and, in the struggle to keep up, the striker was bundled over in the box and referee Rob Smith pointed to the spot.
Despite a clean strike by Ryan the resulting spot kick rattled the Herts bar and gave Rangers a much needed boost.
Herts striker Jake Lewthwaite ran through two challenges and squared to an unmarked Jamie Semark whose cool, first-time finish left goalkeeper Connor Littmoden rooted to the spot.
Stortford soon regained their rhythm with Jonathon Nash winning a free-kick down the left after some neat footwork beat his full-back. Ryan delivered the cross that confused the Rangers defence and keeper leaving Christopher Gibbs free at the back post too put his side back in front.
Gibbs did further damage on the stroke of halftime jinxing past two defenders before drilling a low shot into the bottom left corner from just inside the box giving Rangers a comfortable lead at the break.
In the second-half, Herts came out fighting and soon pulled one back with Semark grabbing his second following some good work from the Rangers forward line.
But then came a moment of magic from Ryan as he picked up the ball, dummied past one defender then beat another before unleashing an unstoppable 20-yard strike into the corner of the net.
With nothing to lose Rangers made changes and sub Gregor Noblett soon pulled another one back, firing an effortless left foot strike from the edge of the box beyond Littmoden. With score 4-3 it was game on.
With 10 minutes left Stortford's dominance looked to be loosening and Rangers sensed they were far from out of the game.
Step forward Nathan Smith as Herts were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal. As the Rangers attack moved around looking for a cross, Smith struck the ball over the keeper and into the roof of the net sending the match to extra-time.
As extra-time got under way the flowing football that Stortford had been playing seemed to have tired their legs, and now it was Herts who looked the more threatening - with striker Lewthwaite causing all sorts problems.
The Stortford attack looked subdued, as the Rangers centre pairing of Sam Pavey and Alex Smits grew stronger.
Lewthwaite came close to scoring the winner for Herts and Prosser came even closer for Stortford, but after 80 minutes it was honours even and the lottery of a shoot-out loomed.
But it was the Herts players who held their nerve with Smits, Ben Orchard and Nathan Smith all converting their chances. While keeper Jack Hollis became the Herts' hero pulling off three saves to deny Ryan, Prosser and Port and ensure a 3-1 win.
Bishop's Stortford Youth: Littmoden, Benson, McGran, Ryan, Bartlett, Readshaw, Humphreys, Port, Prosser, Gibbs, Nash, Randle, Bull
Herts Rangers: Hollis, Blemkin, Smits, Riggans, Pavey, N.Smith, Noblett, Orchard, Semark, Bond, Harrison, Michael, Lewthwaite, Robinson