Kingfishers lose out in epic shoot-out
By Andy Morris
Thatcham were knocked out of the City Security Systems Challenge Cup, losing an epic penalty shoot-out at home to Hartley Wintney.
The game went straight to penalties after a goal-less 90 minutes, but after 17 perfect spot kicks, Adam Debois smothered Tom Moran’s effort to send the Hampshire side through.
Thatcham will rue not scoring when on top in the first half, with Josh Helmore in particular causing problems with his pace and trickery down the right. Cooper-Clark was the main danger-man and forced Debois into a great block with a thumping header from a left-wing cross. Downes and Clark also had efforts saved.
However former Kingfisher Ross Cook came closest to scoring with a rare HW effort on goal. He climbed well to head against the post, but despite an orange shirt getting to the rebound first, the Thatcham defence somehow managed to clear.
The visitors came into the game more at the start of the second half, and Chris Rackley was called into action as Hartley Wintney threatened from a series of crosses into the box, then Rackley had to be alert to block Jacques Kpohorouh's shot.
But Thatcham finished the stronger of the two sides with substitute Lewis Coyle almost finding a late winner after a weaving run. Two youngsters from the club’s Development Team, Jordan Goater and Thierry Carrington were also introduced from the bench for their first team debuts.
The Kingfishers can take encouragement from more than matching a team from the Southern League Premier, but it’s Hartley Wintney who progress into the second round.
Team : Rackley, Stanley Angell Hughes Moran; Melledew Downes Helmore Sankoh Clark; Cooper-Clark. Subs on : Coyle Goater Carrington. Subs unused : Rees Miller.