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Dorchester Town Reserves fall short in penalty shootout drama

BY: Phil Spencer – Dorset Echo Sport

DORCHESTER TOWN RESERVES 2 PETERSFIELD TOWN RESERVES 2

Petersfield win 4-3 on penalties

A PENALTY shootout cost the Magpies dear as they fell to an undeserved defeat in the Wyvern Challenge Cup semi-final.

The game signalled the start of an exciting period for Rich Robson’s team, who are challenging for the Wyvern Midweek Combination Division title, as well as facing a John Stinson Memorial Shield quarter-final clash with Salisbury Reserves next week.

It took just five minutes for the Magpies to take a lead, as Billy Mitchell broke down the left, before the ball fell to Sol Ayunga who played in on-fire striker Ollie Balmer who slotted home with ease.

Despite being a team of significant physical size and experience, the lively nature of the home side’s midfield made it difficult for the visitors to make a mark.

Mitchell and Balmer looked extremely lively down the flanks, using their pace and direct nature to capitalise on a static defensive line.

The visitors’ first opening came from a long ball over the top, as a long ball over the top results in a corner, from which they head the ball just wide of the post.

Robson’s men looked firmly in control, using a well-drilled 4-2-3-1 formation and moving swiftly to catch the opposition on the counter.

As well as the pace and technical abilities of the Magpies’ front line, the spine of Proffitt, Pete Taylor, Josh Hills and Owen Nicolson make it unsurprising that the team has one of the best defensive records in their division this year.

It was a lively opening to the second half, with challenges flying in all over the place, before Proffitt’s fizzed effort from all of 25-yards cannoned off the cross-bar, denying a spectacular second.

Despite chasing the game, Petersfield rarely threatened the hosts, with a structured Magpies’ defence seemingly being enough to see the game out, with Balmer squeezing home a second with 10 minutes left.

But a late revival found a way back into the game for Petersfield, when a Chris Harvey effort, was immediately followed by a penalty decision for handball, which Luke Kendall converted emphatically to level the scores in dramatic fashion to tee up a penalty shoot-out.

Goalscorer Balmer was the first to miss his penalty, before Hibbs provided a lifeline for the Magpies with a great save, only for Mitchell to be denied in heart-breaking fashion to give Petersfield the most unexpected route into the final.

Magpies: Hibbs, Diaz, Payne, Hills (Tennant 85), Taylor, Proffitt (c), Balmer, Nicolson (Spring 90), Ayunga (Ross 65), Will, Mitchell. Subs not used: Brumble, Lucas, Tennant.

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