Essex Senior Cup: Romford 3 Barking 3 (Barking win 9-8 on penalties)
The tie finished 3-3 after extra time but Michael Sammut’s penalty miss proved costly as Barking’s Scott Walsh fired in the Blues 10th spot-kick to send them through.
|Michael Sammut's sudden-death penalty is saved|
The first half began cagey with neither side creating any clear-cut opportunities in front of goal, so it was no surprise when the first real chance was converted.
It was Romford who took the lead after 37 minutes with Adam Salmon’s free-kick somehow finding its way through a group of players towards the far post before meeting the head of Jack Barry.
The Blues were almost instantly level as Kieran Walsh played a neat one-two with Ife Ogunbayo, but the striker put his shot wide of the far post as Mick O’Shea’s side went in a goal down at half-time.
Just five minutes into the second half the home side were two to the good.
Lewis Francis’ ball in to Nick Reynolds was headed down for Matt Toms to volley into the bottom left corner.
Ten minutes later it was the referee who was under the spotlight as Barking’s Dumebi GB-Dumaka appeared to be brought down in the penalty area and the referee had no hesitation to point to the spot. Ben Turner soon stepped up and smashed the ball centre of the goal to give the away side hope.
However, 30 seconds later the referee was pointing to the spot again, this time at the other end. This time Jay Abberley fouled Reynolds and Francis converted the spot-kick to make it 3-1.
As the away side looked to be heading out of the Cup, some quick footwork shown by Kieran Walsh created space for the pacey youngster to slot home Barking’s second of the game.
Now Mick O’Shea’s men had their tails up, and they always looked like equalising.
With five minutes remaining, substitute James Barlow managed to knick the ball from Salmon to break free and slot the ball under the keeper, sending the game into penalties.
Barking’s Jay Abberley missed their third spot kick before Alfie Hilton spurned Romford’s fourth.
It then went down to sudden-death and Christian Buffour saved Romford’s (Michael Sammut) tenth penalty, before Scott Walsh converted his to win against his former side to win the game for Barking.