Pictures John Hopkins
A YOUNG Warrington Town side were knocked out of the Integro League Cup on penalties by Kidsgrove Athletic.
It had looked like the Yellows would safely progress to the next round as they led 2-0, only for the hosts to score two goals and force a penalty shoot-out.
Mitch Duggan and Sheldon Jordan both blazed their spot kicks over the bar as Kidsgrove, who play in the league below the Yellows, prevailed 4-2.
Duggan, who captained the side, was the only survivor from Saturday’s league win over Stafford, as six young academy players were drafted in to the squad, with only Scott Sephton and Alex Byrne familiar first team faces, together with fringe players Iwan Murray, Adam Carden, Elliot Richards and Sheldon Jordan.
One of those changes included in goal, as Marcus Burgess made his Yellows debut, and he made a smart stop early doors to deny Tyler Blake.
Burgess was beaten on 26 minutes, only for Duggan to get back and clear off the line, and the Yellows would then go up the other end and take the lead.
Murray created some space for Jewad Jerbin, and he fired a right-foot shot under the ‘keeper from just inside the box.
It could have been 2-0 before the break, Murray creating space for Byrne this time, his shot coming back off the inside post and just beyond Jordan on the rebound.
Byrne skimmed the crossbar with a free-kick on the stroke of half time, and then 12 minutes in to the second half, the lead was doubled, Murray firing home low to the keeper’s right.
Kidsgrove introduced the prolific Anthony Malbon off the bench and he forced a fine save from Burgess, who got down well to save and then kick away the rebound.
Byrne could have made it three after being put in by Murray, before Kidsgrove mounted their unlikely comeback.
Alex Morris clipped a diagonal ball to the back of the box, it was headed back inside and Blake powered home.
That got the hosts tails up, and the physical Malbon was using his size to his advantage, and it paid off, as two minutes from time, he headed home from close range.
Penalties followed, and after Alex Byrne had confidently put the Yellows in front, Duggan and Jordan hammered their penalties in to the stand behind the goal, and Rhys Thompson made it four from four to send the BetVictor Northern Premier S/East Division side through.
Warrington are next in action away at Ashton United on Saturday.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Kurasik, Hart, Morris, Thompson, Bergin, Butler, Savage (Malbon), Blake, Jennings, Adu-Gyamfi, Phillips. Unused subs: Duffy, Hall, Harrison.
Warrington Town: Burgess, Kahu, Carden, Sephton, Duggan, Richards, Byrne, Sharp, Jordan, Murphy (Mohammed), Jerbin (Cassidy). Unused sub: Yates.