Clipstone’s dream of reaching the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup Final for a third consecutive year were shattered by Rainworth MW in a penalty shoot out after the scores were level at 1-1 after extra-time last night.
Both sides made five changes from the league meeting on Saturday that ended all square.
Liam Royles was back in the starting 11 as he was not required by Sheffield FC, who he is dual-registered with. Luke Randle was also handed a start after his recent move from Long Eaton.
Rainworth were dealt an early blow when full back Connor Griffin was substituted due to injury after only seven minutes and replaced by Declan Brewin.
The home side made all the early running. Michael Trench, playing in a more forward role, nearly got to an early loose ball in the box but keeper Ben Townsend just beat him to it.
Trench’s pace caused plenty of problems for the visitors’ defence, who at times were their own worst enemies as they were caught in possession trying to play the ball out from the back.
Nathan Forbes and Trench combined well after 11 minutes, and when the latter was challenged in the box, appeals for a penalty were waived away. Just a minute later Royles set up Trench but the latter wasn’t able to find the target.
The home side deservedly took the lad in the 13th minute when a quick move involving Trench saw the ball eventually delivered to the far post where Royles slid in to finish from close range.
The Cobras then failed to take a number of chances to finish the tie and secure a passage to the next round.
Rainworth’s first shot on target did not come until the 30th minute when Nick Langford was presented with an opportunity after a defensive error, but Andy Francis saved easily.
Royles had another chance for Clipstone five minutes later as he latched onto a long through ball from Trench but he shot wide.
Clipstone never regained the superiority that they enjoyed in the first half. The early part of the second period was littered with fouls and the visitors clawed their way back into the tie.
They were eventually rewarded with a brilliant individual goal by Matty Sykes, who beat Francis with a 25-yard drive with 17 minutes remaining.
Josh Nodder replaced Forbes as the home side looked to grab a second and while this gave them more options going forward, they were still grateful to a combination of Rob Paling and Francis who between them cleared the ball off the line with 10 minutes remaining.
Neither side wanted to commit too many men forward with extra time looming and so an extra 30 minutes was the result.
Nodder made a great run into the area in the first minute of extra-time and a foot from keeper Townsend was just enough to divert his shot onto the post and out for a corner.
At the other end Andy Francis produced a spectacular stop by back-pedalling to tip over a deflected free kick from Jack Barnett after 111 minutes.
Tired legs were evident on both sides and four players were booked in 11 minutes.
Neither side could find the killer touch, however, and so the drama of a penalty shoot-out was needed to settle the tie.
The Cobras went first and the spectators who remained witnessed some excellent quality penalties.
After 10 penalties it was five all and so it went to sudden death.
Regan Edridge was the unlucky Clipstone player to have his kick saved by Townsend and Wrens captain Phil Buxton converted to take his side through to the next round.