Shirebrook secure Northern Counties East League Cup final place after beating Winterton Rangers

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Shirebrook Town secured their second cup final appearance of the season with a victory on penalties over Premier Division Winterton Rangers.

Shirebrook had to come from behind after conceding two first half goals. Goals from Richard Guest and Julian Topliss took the match into extra time and after a goalless additional half hour the home side triumphed 4-2 on penalties.

Mark Frost made his first save after just five minutes, a sign of things to come. A minute later Rob Sanderson headed over from a long throw which the visitors used all night.

The home side went behind after eight minutes when captain Steve McGurk putting the ball past Frost for an own goal.

Lewis Jackson tried his luck from outside the box on 20 minutes but his low drive always going wide.

Kyle Hadley then missed a glorious opportunity to double the lead when he missed an open goal on 25 minutes.

Winterton doubled their lead on 27 minutes, Frost saving at the foot of the post but failing to hold the ball and Sanderson reacted first to fire into the rook of the net.

Shirebrook made two changes at half time, Danny McLane and Richard Guest coming on for Pete Stubley and Joe Meehan. T

his was to be to be the turning point in the gameGuest had a header cleared off th line on the hour mark.

Frost was still the busier of the two keepers making 3 saves in quick succession to stem the Winterton pressure.

Guest pulled one back for the home side on 65 minutes, firing home from just inside the box. And three minutes later Shirebrook were back on level terms.

A neat passing move involving McLane and Guest was finished off with a superb finish from Julian Topliss. All of a sudden the visitors looked vulnerable.

Shirebrook battled their way to the end of 90 minutes and again to the end of extra time without conceding despite continuous pressure from Winterton.

The home side eventually learnt how to deal with the long throw and defended superbly against the countless corners the visitors forced.

Winterton did have the ball in the back of the net a couple of times but infringements cancelled these out. A studs up challenge on keeper Frost saw the ball cross the line with the referee seemingly point towards the halfway line. Winterton thought he had given the goal when in fact he was signalling a free kick to the home side.

On to the penalties, Topliss stepped up and fired the home side into the lead. Danny Smith stepped up for Winterton and missed the target. Lewis Jackson made it 2-0 to Shirebrook although keeper Jack Ward did get a hand to it.

Winterton captain James O’Neill reduced the deficit but Danny McLane restored the two goal cushion, again Ward getting a hand to the ball.

Andy Walkden made it 3-2. Lee Briggs stepped up and hit a low drive to the keepers left, Ward had picked the right way and saved with his feet. Jake Stannard had the chance to bring the scores level, his spot kick was low and to Frost’s right but Frost got across and superbly saved to maintain the one goal advantage.

This left captain Steve McGurk with the chance to put Shirebrook through to the League Cup Final. He stepped up and calmly sent Ward the wrong way and the celebrations started.

Shirebrook Town: Frost, Thomas, Briggs, Ludlow, McGurk (c), Hackett, Pride, Jackson, Stubley (Guest 45), Topliss, Meehan (McLane 45).

Subs not used: Jenkinson, Naylor and Rodger.

Winterton Rangers: Ward, Nesbitt (Phillips 115), Severn, Walkden, Sanderson (Slack 104), Smith, O’Neill (c), Fisher, Stannard, Cooper, Hadley (Bibby 99).

Subs not used: Nelthorpe and Parlby

Referee: Mr Mark Hutchinson.

Assistants: Mr Craig Langton and Mr Chris Hunter.

Att: 127.

Man of the Match: Steve McGurk