Penalty shootout exit for London Colney

Shaun Murphy took the game to extra-time with a 94th minute goal. Picture: James Whittamore

Shaun Murphy took the game to extra-time with a 94th minute goal. Picture: James Whittamore - Credit: Archant

London Colney suffered penalty shootout heartache on Tuesday night as they exited the SSML Premier Division Cup at the hands of Berkhamsted.

Spencer Clarke-Mardel celebrates scoring the opening goal. Picture: James Whittamore

Spencer Clarke-Mardel celebrates scoring the opening goal. Picture: James Whittamore - Credit: Archant

Having scored twice at the end of normal time to take the game to extra-time, London Colney were pegged back and forced into penalties. It was only after nine penalties that the teams were separated as James Lawrence missed his spot kick, sending the Blueboys out of the competition.

The Blueboys lost Matt Newman, who this week picked up an award for scoring his 100th goal for London Colney, early on to a groin strain but still they surged forward and, after the Carl Tasker had spilled Dan Power’s rasping low drive, Spencer Clarke-Mardel turned in the loose ball.

On 32 minutes Berkhamsted equalised when Connor Calcutt forced the ball home at the near post following a free kick into the box.

Clarke-Mardel then had a chance to put the Blueboys back in front as he was sent clear but with only the keeper to beat he put his shot wide of the far post.

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In the second half Charlie May produced a tremendous save by pushing away a fiercely struck free-kick, which was taken by Calcutt.

Berkhamsted went 2-1 up after a corner kick was not cleared and Calcutt pounced to drive the loose ball home. Eleven minutes later it became 3-1 when after another corner kick saw Dale Spears rise up and head the ball powerful into the back of the net.

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The Blueboys pushed forward looking to pull a goal back and Tom Smith was pushed up front to try and cause problems for the Comrades defence and later on he saw his free-kick well saved by Tasker whilst Trevor Stevens also had a fine shot saved by the Berkhamsted keeper.

With 90 mintues on the clock the Blueboys pulled a goal back when a curling free-kick into the box by Lawrence saw both Clarke-Mardel and Greg Shaw racing in at the back post and it was the latter who got the vital touch as he slid the ball over the line to make it 3-2.

It was still not over as the Blueboys pressed forward again and they were rewarded with an equaliser on 94 minutes when after Shaun Murphy forced the ball over line from close range to take the match to extra-time.

In the first period of extra-time the Blueboys continued to search for more goals and firstly Jimmy Hartley had a shot blocked and then following a corner kick Clarke-Mardel had his close range effort cleared off the line.

Clarke-Mardel then had two strikes pushed around the post by Tasker before the Blueboys scored a fourth goal. Another free kick into the box saw Murphy touch the ball on and their was Shaw who drove is effort into the roof of the net.

With only five minutes to go Berkamsted made it 4-4 when James Towell bundled the ball home from close range.

The Blueboys nearly snatched a winner in dying seconds of the match when a long free-kick from Charlie May found Clarke-Mardel in the box but his well-placed header struck the foot of the post and went out.

So to penalties and all five for both sides were well struck only for James Lawrence’s who the last one saw Tasker get a touch and the ball spun up and over the bar for Berkhamsted to win 5-4.

The teams now meet Thursday evening at London Colney in the quarter-final of the Challenge Trophy.

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