Kirkley & Pakefield 5 Bury Town 5 AET- Bury Town win 4-2 on penalties
- Credit: Archant
Kirkley & Pakefield suffered heartbreak in the Suffolk Premier Cup as they lost on penalties to higher league opposition, despite leading for four times in the match.
Bury Town eventually held their nerve, winning 4-2 in the shootout in a match that finished 5-5 after extra time.
The game had everything, a penalty shootout, a red card, defenders close to scoring hat-tricks and some fierce tackles, as Kirkley started on the front foot.
Despite a defensive looking side, with Tarren Grint and Matthew Brown providing the support for lone front man Ross King from the wide areas, the home side gradually grew into the game.
Ross Gilfedder was missing from the squad and Jordan Haverson was on the bench, as midfielders Tom Cole and Jack Smith looked to take their chance by getting the ball forward as quickly as possible in the early exchanges.
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Bury Town, who compete in the Ryman Division 1 North, did test young keeper Elliot Reynolds with a few looping crosses, but they were dealt with effectively.
The Royals, keen to test their credentials against higher league opposition then opened the scoring on 7 minutes.
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Matthew Brown played in skipper Ross King, and after his initial shot was blocked, the ball found Tarren Grint who calmly slotted home from inside the box.
Bury Town looked to respond, and came close just two minutes later as Ollie Canfer missed a free-header from close range.
However, it didn't take long for the visitors to cancel out the lead as they were level on 17 minutes. Bradley Barber curled a brilliant left-footed free kick around the wall and in off the post to equalise for the visitors from Ram Meadow.
Both teams were attacking with pace and looking to switch the ball to the wide areas as much as possible. Kirkley were closing down the ball quickly and Tarren Grint's dangerous cross into the box was expertly cleared by a visiting defender.
But on 27 minutes, it was the home side that regained the lead. Jack Smith's pinpoint corner was played into just the right area where Jack Herbert, up from the back, was able to powerfully head past O'Sullivan for 2-1.
Seemingly buoyed from conceding via a set piece, Bury Town were straight back on the front foot and just three minutes later, the pendulum swung once again as Ollie Canfer headed home a corner at the other end to bring the scores level once more.
Yet the game of football always brings about surprises, and this is exactly what happened just a minute later as Tarren Grint, who usually lines up at full-back, scored his second of the game, via a deflection, to ensure Kirkley went into the half time break 3-2 ahead.
After the restart, the Royals were defending well with Flower and Herbert putting their bodies on the line numerous times to deny certain efforts on goal. Yet Bury Town did look dangerous from set-pieces with a number of crosses floating just wide or players missing half-chances inside the box.
Tarren Grint continued to catch the eye but was then surprisingly substituted and replaced by Kaiden Goldspink.
On 68 minutes, Sam Reed had a golden chance to bring the visitors level, but headed just wide when well placed.
Matthew Wilson then entered the fray for the home side, as fellow substitute Goldspink shot wide after being pressed by Canfer, who tracked back well.
As the game entered the final three minutes, yet another twist in the remarkable game unfolded. Substitute Alfie Bedingham crossed for Sam Reed to head past Reynolds for 3-3. The game was halted in stoppage time as keeper O'Sullivan was caught by a trailing boot from Goldspink, which resulted in a nasty cut and a bandage having to be applied.
With the teams facing another 30 minutes, the players embraced in a huddle as to the best way of tackling the energy-sapping extra time.
And when the additional period did kick off, it was the home side who seized the imitative and took the lead for the fourth time on the night. Great play from Goldspink resulted in Jack Herbert notching his second of the game with a powerful finish into the roof of the net. The Kirkley fans would have been wondering if their powerful central defender could notch an unlikely hat-trick in a game that was turning out to be a classic cup tie.
But just when the home support thought their team may hold the lead, Bury Town refused to lie down, bringing themselves level for the fourth time just a minute later. A great cross into the box by Sam Reed wasn't dealt with by Flower, leaving Bradley Barber the task of firing over Reynolds for his second, and the visitors' fourth.
Jack Herbert then prevented a certain goal by putting his body on the line as the ball looked destined to hit the net.
Just before the first 15 minutes had come to a close, Bury Town took the lead for the first time on the night to make the score 5-4. A defensive mix up allowed Ollie Hughes to nip in and side-foot home from a tight angle.
In what was the last throw of the dice, Kirkley brought on Kyle Baker who is close to nearing full fitness following a recent injury. He made an instant impact with O'Sullivan somehow palming away a dangerous free-kick.
As the game neared its conclusion, Ollie Hughes then picked up two yellow cards in quick succession for something he said to the referee, resulting in a red card.
This all added time onto the clock and eventually resulted in one final twist in this remarkable match.
After Matthew Brown's free-kick flew just wide, the next passage of play saw the ball find Goldspink and his calm finish sent the crowd into raptures, and the match to penalties.
Bradley Barber blazed his penalty against the crossbar but Jack Smith also missed for Kirkley as with two taken, it remained 0-0.
When Tevan Allen scored for the visitors, the pressure was on Ross King, but the home captain slotted the ball under O'Sullivan for 1-1 in the shootout.
Sam Reed then scored his penalty before Matthew Wilson saw his saved by O'Sullivan.
When Craig Nurse made it 3-1 the pressure was on Kyle Baker, but he produced the perfect penalty high in the top corner to keep Kirkley's slim hopes alive.
It all rested on Darcy De'Ath to try and score to put his team into the next round. He stepped up- and sent Reynolds the wrong way to end a crazy night of football at Walmer Road with Bury Town winning 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 5-5 after extra time.
K&P Team: Reynolds, Edwards-King, George, Tacon, Herbert, Flower, Grint, Cole, Smith, King, Brown.
Subs: Haverson, Wilson, Goldspink, Baker.
Bury Town: O'Sullivan, Allen, Paterson, Collins, De'Ath, Aitkens, Canfer, Nurse, Hughes, Barber, Reed.
Subs: Bedingham, Kennedy, Garrett, Steed.