Louth extend cup run in shootout drama

LOUTH Town needed a penalty shoot out to see off Askern Villa in last night’s Wilkinson Sword Trophy second round tie in South Yorkshire.

Twice town were pegged back in normal time in an entertaining 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Mark Fairburn and Andy Willoughby before a dramatic shoot out saw the visitors emerge 5-4 on spot kicks.

The White Wolves made a bright start to the tie, passing the ball with confidence but it was the hosts who had the first chance when Craig Wherry saved Ash Towler’s low shot.

Louth frontman Andy Willoughby looked to continue his good form and nearly had a shot at goal himself but defender Phil Whitehead made a last gasp tackle.

On 39 minutes Town had another chance, Dan Pawson rose high to meet Rocky Rawlings’ corner but headed over the crossbar before Willoughby came close again as his snap shot flew just wide.

As the teams emerged for the second half, it was Louth who again looked started the brighter and the visitors took the lead on 47 minutes. The busy Willoughby sliced a shot which rolled into the path of Mark Fairburn who tapped home the loose ball.

But Villa struck back almost instantly, Wherry was given no chance in the Louth goal as Mark Vickerage was given time to dribble into the box and smash a low drive into the corner.

As the game stretched, Louth again took the lead. Paul Coulam linked well with the creative Pawson and Willoughby was on hand to smash the cross home.

But the home side drew level once again as Towler’s volley flew past Wherry to send the game into extra time.

Visitors keeper Wherry had to be at his best in extra time to keep the scores level, making great reflex saves from Tom McLaughlin and goalscorer Vickerage. Just before the end of the half hour, Villa looked set to score the winner but Jay Rollins’ shot forced a brilliant save from Wherry, who dived at full length to keep the strike out.

Town also had a chance to win the tie, Fairburn’s flick from a corner was saved by goalkeeper Hernandez and Willoughby saw his shot headed off the line by home skipper Steven Knifton.

Despite the chances, the game went to a nervy penalty shootout, and Louth stopper Wherry was the hero as he saved two home kicks before Carl Martin fired home the winning penalty to send the visitors through.

Louth will be in action on Saturday as they travel to Holbrook Sports as they look to keep their FA Cup run going. Kick off will be 3pm and a coach will run to Derbyshire for the game, leaving Park Avenue at 11.15am priced at £8. For details call club secretary Matt Jones on 07891 965531.