Louth Old Boys edged through to the Timothy Sales Memorial Trophy final with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Mablethorpe Athletic on Saturday.
The match proved a very close cup semi-final which neither team deserved to lose.
Adam Cannon fired Mablethorpe in front when he latched onto Declan Farrow’s through ball to fire home.
Two minutes later Alex Carter thought he had made it 2-0 when he curled in a shot which cannoned off the stanchion and back out into play. But the referee thought it had hit the post and no goal was awarded.
Athletic did enjoy a slice of good luck when Bobby McSpadden deflected Stewart Thomas’s corner into his own net to make it two.
McSpadden soon made amends, floating in a free kick which caused havoc in the goalmouth before Rocky Rawlings, with his back to goal, looped a bicycle kick into the net.
Minutes later McSpadden whipped in another free-kick which Thomas fumbled in for an own goal.
Thomas also atoned when his in-swinging corner was headed in by Adam Brownson to give Mablethorpe a 3-2 half-time lead.
Old Boys began the second half brightly with Jordan Whittleton shooting just wide and Sam McSpadden having a header disallowed for offside.
Chapman had an effort well saved by Marcus Mackay before Gary Pawson headed wide.
Old Boys equalised when Sam McSpadden’s header was saved by Mackay and substitute Angus Findlay bundled in the rebound to force extra time.
After an uneventful first period, Old Boys were twice denied by the woodwork in the second half through Chapman and Whittleton as the match went to penalties.
Cannon, Farrow and Danny Marshall converted their spot kicks for Mablethorpe, but Louth went one better with successful kicks by Chapman, Rawlings, Whittleton and Bobby McSpadden to go through.
Mablethorpe boss Mick Stubbs made Carter his man-of-the match, edging out Mathew Sirett and Declan Farrow, and was left to rue on what might have been.
He said: “This was another great team effort against a very strong side.
“We came so close to a great win only to lose on penalties. We have been playing the best teams in the league and pushed them right to the limit without getting any reward.
“Alex Carter scored a perfectly good goal, but unfortunately it didn’t stand. If it had been given we could have won the match after normal time.”
Mablethorpe (4-4-2): Mackay; Thomas, Carter, Sirett (c), J. Brownson (J. Marshall 46); A. Brownson, Spybey (D. Marshall 59), Farrow, Whiley; Cannon, S. Parnell.
* Mablethorpe Athletic thrashed Alford Town 6-1 in the East Lincs Combination last Wednesday after a hat-trick from Will Britton.
Almost a year ago, Mablethorpe lost to Alford by the same scoreline, but laid that ghost to rest.
Skegness Town player Will Britton has been signed on for Mablethorpe all season and featured in pre-season for the club. His first competitive outing for Athletic was well worth the wait as he bagged a hat-trick.
He set the tone with a neat finish early on, and minutes later Adam Brownson, who scored the goal of the season days earlier, went on a run from inside his own half to score another excellent goal.
Danny Marshall’s 15th goal of the campaign gave Mablethorpe a 3-0 lead at half-time.
Anthony Parnell got a fourth early in the second half before Paul Nicholas pulled one back for Alford.
Britton then added two quick goals to complete his treble.
Manager Mick Stubbs was not thrilled despite the result.
“I thought we were a bit flat to be honest,” he said. “The pitch was narrow with heavy patches and it was a scrappy game.
“We should have moved the ball quicker at times and the scoreline didn’t reflect our performance.
“Having said that, we were the better team and scored some good goals.
“Will Britton came in and did well, but I thought our man-of-the-match was Jake Marshall. He was outstanding in defence.”
Mablethorpe (4-3-3): Mackay; Brownson, Carter, J. Marshall, Billingham (Thomas 25); Farrow, Sirett (c), Whiley (Quinn 64); D. Marshall, Britton, A. Parnell (S. Parnell 71).
* On Saturday, Mablethorpe host Tetney Rovers in the league (kick-off 2.30pm).