Spencers Wood through to final!!
By Simon Vincent
Nail biting penalty shoot out decided by Daniel Codling.
After the original match was postponed last week at Spencers Wood an early start was had by all the players who travelled to MIlton Keynes to play their semi-final.
Milton Keynes City were the opposition who were top of their league without having lost a match so Spencers Wood knew this was going to be a tough game and it was made even harder when Spencers Wood lost possession from the kick off and MIlton Keynes clinically took advantage with a good shot from their striker.
Early signs were not good for Spencers Wood as Milton Keynes continued to push with the slope and wind in their favour but soon Spencers Wood calmed down and started to look the better team and created several good chances and at time were camped in the Milton Keynes half who were now only playing on the break.
Spencers Wood were massively in the ascendancy for the remainder of the first half without scoring the equaliser with George Gurr, Joe Johnson and Andy Johnstone-Archer all having good chances without success.
The half time message was very clear to the Spencers Wood players... we have been the better team and if we keep pushing we will at the very least equalise and more than likely take the victory.
Spencers Wood now attacked with the slope and wind in their favour and following the trend from the first half were again on top but somehow it took until the 80th minute to claim the deserved equaliser. A corner from the right was met from close range by Andy Johnstone-Archer who controlled his header superbly.
Unfortunately the deserved winner didn't come in normal and the match went into extra time, the third time this has happened so far in this cup run. The extra period was dominated by the team with the advantage of the slope and wind and both teams had chances to win it however Spencers Wood again had the better chances with a Jordan Rowe screamer cleared off the line and a Lee Kitching goal chalked off after the referee whistled for a foul after the goalkeeper had dropped the ball.
The match ended 1-1 and the lottery of penalties awaited both teams. The Spencers Wood players were confident going into the shootout with the first 5 takers sorted within a minute of the full time whistle blowing.
Spencers Wood took first with Simon Whitaker confidently leading from the front and scoring the first penalty. The first penalty from Milton Keynes was then saved by Daniel Codling to give Spencers Wood a huge advantage. Unfortunately George Gurr saw his penalty saved by the Milton Keynes goalkeeper however Milton Keynes missed the opportunity to level the score when their next taker struck the bar. The next 2 penalties for each team were scored with Lee Kitching and Andy Johnstone-Archer converting their spot kicks for Spencers Wood.
The final kick to win the tie fell to Daniel Codling who had already played his part in the shootout by saving the first penalty. He duly converted and Spencers Wood celebrated a momentous day as they reached their first final.
Well done to all involved!
Man of the match: Olu Akeju