GALLERY: Huntingdon edge Godmanchester in Hunts Cup penalty shootout
- Credit: Archant
Huntingdon Town are through to the quarter-finals of the Senior Cup at the expense of rivals Godmanchester, after winning a nerve-wracking penalty shootout at Jubilee Park.
The teams were level at one-all at the end of 90 minutes and needed the lottery of a shootout to determine a winner.
Each team had 10 spot kicks but it was Huntingdon who held their nerve to progress.
Huntingdon Town manager Ricky Marheineke admitted the game played out exactly as he had expected.
“It was what I thought it would be : a stereotypical local derby. It wasn’t pretty but it was a hard fought game between two good sides going toe-to-toe.
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“When that happens quality can go out the window and the team who plays the occasion better wins the game.”
He added: “I was very disappointed with the first half, and I pointed a few fingers at half-time. Too many players went missing and I told them.
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“I told them to step up in the second half and take responsibility and make things happen, which they did.
“The application was much better and I thought we were the only team that would win the tie.”
Saturday’s win extends Huntingdon’s unbeaten run to 13 games, a streak Marheineke called “great.”
“The boys have shown that they can win well, roll up their sleeves and grind out a result and win tactically.
“This is a good group and if they continue to [improve] it will be a good season.”
The game started at a fast pace with Godmanchester going on the attack and causing Huntingdon to defend deeply.
The visitors were in a determined mood and the first chance fell to Mark Ebeyer but he clipped the ball over the bar after being set up by James Hall.
Further chances were created by Godmanchester’s John Turner, and on the half-hour mark he crossed for Jamie Blackwell but his strike was blocked by Victor Torres.
The breakthrough from Godmanchester came in the 40th minute when another run and cross from Turner found James Hall who rifled a low shot into the corner to open the scoring.
Huntingdon almost pulled one back at the end of the half after a defensive mix up but the chance was wasted, bringing an end of a half where the hosts had failed to trouble Godmanchester’s goal.
An invigorated Huntingdon side emerged for the second half and duly levelled the game. Pat Bexfiled overlapped on the right wing and cut back for Declan Rogers to score.
Undeterred, Godmanchester poured forward in search of a goal and came close four times only for their shooting to let them down.
In the 75th minute Huntingdon centre back Charlie De’ath was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence, leaving his team to fend off the final 15 minutes with 10 men.
The hosts held firm, though, and fortunately for Ricky Marheineke’s side, the game went straight to penalties. The shootout went to sudden death with a Micky Hyem’s conversion sending his old club out of the competition.
Despite the first round exit, Rovers manager Karl Hurst was in a bouyant mood following the tie.
“It was a really good game; both teams knew a lot about the other and locked horns,” he said.
“I thought we edged the first half and perhaps should have gone in two or three up.
“The second half was even though so over 90 minutes I though we shaded it.
“But both defences played well and the tackles were flying in but the game was played in the right spirit. It was a great advert for local senior football.”
Still, Hurst was disappointed that the game went straight to penalties, rather than extra-time or a return leg at Bearscroft Lane.
“To go away and draw, I think we earned the right to another 30 minutes, which would have suited us because we had an extra man, or a replay, which would have been great.
“Instead, we had to go to penalties which can go either way. And fair play to Huntingdon, they’re a good side.”
Hurst reserved special praise for the 150-plus Godmanchester fans who made the trip.
“The fans were phenomenal; after the game the players said it sounded like a home game so I would like to thank them for coming to the game.”
The next round takes place on January 4, 2014, and will see Huntingdon travel to St Neots.