Shootout heartbreak for Billingshurst in Supplementary Shield final
Billingshurst suffered defeat in a penalty shootout against Midhurst & Easebourne in the final of the SCFL Division 1 Supplementary Shield in front of a large crowd at Broadbridge Heath on Wednesday evening.
Hurst started the brighter and a move down their left saw the ball cut back into the path of Jahobi Maher. He got his shot all wrong and the ball sailed harmlessly wide.
A number of rash challenges from Midhurst led to their third yellow card. It sparked a flurry of comments between the benches resulting in Jack Stevens from the Billingshurst management team receiving his marching orders.
The next piece of notable action once again saw Maher involved as he latched on to a loose ball just inside the Billingshurst half. Spotting Midhurst keeper Josh Bird well off his line, his shot went agonisingly just wide.
Hurst continued to threaten and Ricardo Fernandes started a promising move just inside the Midhurst half and looked to have been caught and went down. The referee then harshly cautioned Fernandes for alleged ‘simulation’.
The incident reignited the benches and this time it was the Midhurst bench who said something to the referee so he produced his second red card .
We reached the end of the half with the red card count at 1-1, Midhurst in front 3-2 on the yellow card count but 0-0 in goals.
Into the second half and it was the Midhurst keeper Bird who was called into action first as, once again, he thwarted Billingshurst with a tip over the bar from a free kick.
James Stallen responded at the other end with a good save from Marcus Bedford. Referee Mr Homewood then went down holding his thigh with the fourth official taking over
On the hour mark, Stallen sent a pass towards Archie Goddard who hit a looping shot over the Midhurst keeper to spark celebrations and make it 1-0.
Fernandes’s trickery had proved to be a thorn in the Midhurst side all game but when they were awarded a free-kick on the halfway line, he then failed to retreat when asked leading to a second yellow.
Billingshurst were then caught napping for the first time in the game, and it led to an equalising goal. A cross into the area by Harry Giles was met by substitute Robert Tambling who duly headed home.
Even with ten men, Hurst carried on pressing and Bird continue to hold them at bay with multiple saves from Maher.
The game ended 1-1 so it was over to the lottery of penalties and the first seven kicks had found the back of the net.
For the eighth up stepped Maher who went for power but saw his spot kick fly over the bar and land on the A24.
Billingshurst manager Lee Spickett said: “(I am) disappointed to lose but congratulations to Midhurst. On the night we competed in every department and we’ll come back stronger for this.
"It’s been a great effort by all to get to the final, both on and off the pitch”