Hall Road Rangers suffered penalty shootout heartbreak on Tuesday night as they lost 4-5 after they played out a 3-3 draw in 90 minutes against NCEL Premier Division league leaders Grimsby Borough in the Second Round of the NCEL League Cup.
There were nine changes made to the Hall Road starting 11 from Saturday’s victory at Retford FC as numerous players were given much needed game time. Haydn Withill, Luke Bullement, Alex Britton, James McGarry, Harry Griffin, Fin Parker, Dave Harrison, Bailey Smith and Reece Moody all came into the side.
The game started very well from a Rangers perspective as they took the initiative and were the much better side. Dave Harrison had an early chance inside the 2nd minute as he dragged an effort wide.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot in the 6th minute when Reece Moody was brought down after rounding Borough keeper Scott Drury. Moody converted the resulting penalty to put Rangers in front on his home debut and get his 3rd goal in two games.
Bailey Smith doubled Hall Road’s lead in the 13th minute with his 2nd goal for the club after he was teed up by Fin Parker. Dave Harrison nearly extended this lead almost immediately as his fired a shot just wide.
Grimsby Borough threatened in the 22nd minute as they searched for a way back into the game. They forced Rangers keeper Haydn Withill to produce a fantastic double save to deny both Jack Debnam and Jack Bradbury.
Reece Moody came close to getting his second goal of the game two minutes later as he met James McGarry’s cross and saw his looped header go over the bar. However, Hall Road didn’t have to wait long to make it 3-0 as Dave Harrison bundled the ball over the line in the 25th minute to bag his 2nd goal of the season after being picked out in the box by Fin Parker’s pass.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 39th minute as Tom Hipwell poked home inside the Rangers box.
There was a big shift in the overall pattern of the game as Grimsby Borough built up a lot of pressure on the Rangers goal. Haydn Withill made an outstanding save in the 46th minute and the subsequent rebound was smacked against the post by Caine Winfarrah.
Withill then tipped a Reece York free kick over the bar in the 52nd minute. Adam Drury made it 3-2 in the 64th minute when he was on hand to slot the ball into the back of the net.
Eight minutes later, Drury had an effort go just wide after he looped the ball over Haydn Withill.
Jack Debnam almost levelled things up in the 84th minute as he saw his shot go wide. Grimsby Borough were later awarded a penalty late on when Debnam was brought down by Haydn Withill. Lewis Collins dispatched the spot kick to ensure that the game would go to penalties.
Craig Muirhead and James McGarry converted Hall Road’s opening two penalties whilst Borough scored their first three.
Sam Robinson then had his spot kick saved by Scott Drury and Haydn Withill saved the visitors’ 4th penalty. James Piercy made it 3-3 and then it was 3-4.
Hall Road levelled things up at 4-4 before Borough took the lead once again.
The deciding penalty was taken by Alex Knaggs which he missed and it was Grimsby Borough who progressed into the Third Round.
Rangers joint boss Dave Ricardo was pleased with the very positive impression that was made by the players who got their opportunity to start.
“Everything we wanted out of the game we got other than holding on at the end.
Piercy and Knaggs had to play and McGarry and Moody needed to get the 90 minutes in for sharpness having only just come to the club.
Other than those four, we played seven lads that’ve either been on the bench or in and around the squad to give them the opportunity to show their value. In the main, we thought they did with flying colours.
The goal just before half time cost us in terms of momentum but full credit to Grimsby Borough who finished the game strongly.
Did either team deserve to lose on pens? I don’t think so, but part of the young lads’ education is learning from these types of experiences. We finished the game with three 16 year olds on the park.
We’re really proud of the way they took on board the messages that were given and were able to, in particular the first half, put their own individual stamp on the game.
This was another promising night for the club” Ricardo said.