Clipstone knocked out of NCEL League Cup
Ian Cotton's second match in charge saw the Cobras head to the suburbs of north Sheffield for a fourth round league cup tie against in-form Penistone Church. The home side currently sit second in the NCEL Division One league table and had scored nine goals without reply in their last two games.
In a match played in sub-zero temperatures, Clipstone put in a gutsy performance and were ahead in the tie until the 86th minute. Eventually they succumbed to a goal in the 118th minute, just as a penalty shoot-out was looking likely.
After early pressure from the home side, the visitors opened the scoring in the 9th minute when a free kick was not properly cleared by the Penistone defence and debutant Jacob Lowe was on hand to fire home from close range. 0-1
The following 20 minutes was evenly balanced although neither side created any clear cut chances. The Cobras’ midfield quartet of Ben Rogers, Brendan Williams, Tim Gregory and Gareth Curtis all showed they had the confidence to get the ball down and take on opponents.
The home side created a great chance on 36 minutes when a ball through the middle found centre forward Andy Ring whose shot brought an excellent save out of Andy Francis, diving low to his left. Francis was again in action three minutes later when Brett Lovell got his head to a free kick but it was straight at the Cobras’ ‘keeper.
The final action of the half saw Francis deal with a free kick near the area from Lovell that somehow found its way under the defensive wall.
The Cobras were forced into a change at half time as Jake Egginton replaced the injured Ben Rogers with Rob Paling taking over the captain’s armband.
There was an early chance for Tim Gregory as he went through on goal but he was unable get his attempted lob over home ‘keeper Adam Rhodes.
Penistone drew level in the 54th minute although in the build up play centre forward Andy Ring was clearly two yards offside. However the Assistant kept his flag down and although Andy Francis did well to save the initial effort the rebound fell to Lewis Dickinson who scored with a powerful drive from just inside the area.
The Cobras were forced into a second change when Tim Gregory picked up a groin injury and was replaced by Max Curzon.
The visitors kept up their positive approach and a cross cum shot from the impressive Egginton almost fooled Penistone ‘keeper Rhodes who only just managed to get his finger tips to the ball from under the bar.
The Cobras retook the lead in the 68th minute with a well-worked goal. A quick throw out by Francis found Gareth Curtis who moved forward ten yards and played an excellent ball inside the full back to substitute Max Curzon who produced a great finish.
The home side pressed for an equaliser but found the Clipstone back four in resilient mood. They came close in the 84th minute when Dickinson was denied by an excellent block by Ben Burbanks.
A minute later a shot from Penistone defender Jimmy Stafford was deflected narrowly wide and the home side won the first of three corners in quick succession. The third of these was played to the near post where Andy Francis attempted to punch the ball clear under pressure from Brett Lovell. The Cobras’ goalkeeper was impeded and his punch directed the ball into his own net although the goal was later awarded to Lovell.
There were plenty of tired legs in extra time and chances for both sides. Penistone dominated the first period of extra time and the Cobras were indebted to ‘keeper Francis who produced four fine saves, one at point-blank range, to keep his team in the tie.
The best chance for Clipstone fell to the lively Gareth Curtis in the 110th minute who was found in the area by an excellent 40-yard ball from Rob Paling. Curtis managed to get a shot whilst under pressure from a defender but Rhodes was able to block.
With penalties looming a cross from the right hand side found Andy Ring who scored from six yards out. However there were plenty of positives for Clipstone to take from this performance as Ian Cotton builds a squad out of local players.