Shirebrook suffer penalty shoot-out heartbreak in play-off final

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Shirebrook Town were beaten on penalties in their NCEL Division 1 play-off final

Shirebrook headed to Beverley Town for the most important game of the season the NCEL division 1 play-off final as they had the chance to achieve their aim of gaining promotion to step 5 – a step they haven’t played in for over 10 years.

The team standing in their way was Beverley Town who finished 1 place above Shirebrook in the league but just 3 points separated the sides and the meetings between the sides during the season were also close games with them drawing 1-1 at the WH Davis stadium in October and Shirebrook picking up a 3-0 win at Beverley back in March.

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As the game got underway it was a tense opening 10 minutes with not much action in either box but the first big chance fell to Shirebrook as Kieren Watson played Kiyani Clayton through 1 on 1 with the Beverley keeper but the keeper was fast off his line and managed to clear the ball away.

Brad McGowan Celebrates His Goal To Make It 1-1Brad McGowan Celebrates His Goal To Make It 1-1
Brad McGowan Celebrates His Goal To Make It 1-1

Minutes later the exact same opportunity would present itself as Kieren Watson sent Kiyani Clayton through 1 on 1 with the Beverley keeper this time Clayton managed to get a shot away but the Beverley keeper made the save and in the 19th minute Shirebrook came even closer to opening the scoring as Lewis Murr swung in a free kick that found Richard Patterson who’s header smashed against the bar.

Those missed chances would come back to haunt Shirebrook in the 26th minute when Beverley opened the scoring when a cross from the left found Benjamin Hinchliffe who first time shot found the bottom corner this goal seamed to spark the home side into life.

Grant Tait and Joe McFadyen both went close to doubling the home side lead but as the game was heading towards half time Shirebrook were handed a big opportunity to level the score when they were awarded a penalty after Kiyani Clayton was taken out by the Beverley keeper with the ref initially waving away the shouts for a penalty while Clayton was receiving treatment he went to speak with the linesman and chanced his decision to award the penalty.

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Kieren Watson stepped up to take the spot kick but dragged his shot wide of the target to sum up what had been a very frustrating half for the visitors.

As the second half got underway Shirebrook knew they needed a fast start but it was the home side who had the better of the opening 10 minutes and almost adding to their lead as Grant Tait went close to doubling the home side lead with Shirebrook struggling to get much possession but once the did they took full advantage of it as they levelled the score in the 60th minute when Lewis Murr swung in a corner to found Brad McGowan who headed into the bottom corner.

Now they were back level Shirebrook set about trying to find a winner in the final 30 minutes of the game but it was the home side who had the better chances with Joe McFadyen smashing a shot across goal and in the final 10 minutes sub Scott Phillips fired a shot over the bar but after 90 minutes the score was level so that would mean a dreaded penalty shootout.

Shirebrook would take first with Kiyani Clayton taking first but he hit the post wit his spot kick Grant Tait would go first for Beverley and scored to give them the lead Rio Allan took second for Shirebrook and got them on the board as he cooly found the bottom corner.

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Matthew Plumber would take Beverley second spot kick and scored with Ben Partridge stepping up 3rd for Shirebrook and he also scored James Piercy would take 3rd for Beverley and he also scored and it was Lewis Murr who would take the 4th penalty for Shirebrook and he fired over the bar leaving Scott Phillips to take the 4th penalty for Beverley he scored to seal promotion for Beverley and end Shirebrook dreams of a return to step 5 football.

After the game Shirebrook manager Stephen Bodle said: “First and foremost it was a great game over 1500 people hear to watch and they were treated to a good game I thought we were hard done to in terms of chances we had the 1 on 1s Patterson hitting the crossbar and the penalty miss leaves you thinking what could have been.

"When I look back on the season we can be proud of what we’ve achieved it was practically a brand new group of players and to get 100 points on the board a 22 game unbeaten run that saw us go on a run of 12 wins in a row we also managed to keep 7 clean sheets in a row during that run so I couldn’t be any prouder of my players and what they’ve given me over the season.

"This results hurts and it probably will for the next few days but we’ll go away now and see what league the FA place us in for next season weather we remain in the north east counties or are moved to the united counties league then we’ll build again over the summer and go again next season.”

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