BROMSGROVE Sporting’s hopes of securing the treble this season came to a crashing end as they suffered a 4-3 penalty shoot-out defeat to Coton Green in the semi-finals of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup.
The Midland League Division One ‘invincibles’ and Worcestershire FA Senior Urn winners – by default – lacked composure with the final ball as they failed to break down Rob Masefield’s efficient Green outfit.
With the scores locked at 0-0 after 90 minutes at New Mill Lane, it was the hosts who went through as Jason Cowley (missed) and Ahmed Ali (saved) failed to convert their spot-kicks in the shoot-out with Jake Walker hitting the winner.
The defeat puts a slight dampener on what has been a history-making season for Paul Smith’s men who were left frustrated by a number of missed gilt-edged chances.
Just a minute into the game the ball was in the back of the Sporting net as Josh Sherrington raced through on goal for the Division Two outfit before rounding Neil Leech and tapping home.
However, it was ruled out for offside.
This seemed to have spurred the Rouslers on as Robbie Bunn forced Shane Maydew to make a low save after six minutes before another save prevented Reece Hewitt moments later following a neat interchange with Chrisi Conway.
But the best chance of the game for the visitors came on the quarter hour mark for Cowley but with the striker in acres of space, he failed to divert his header from Bunn’s cross into the far corner.
Despite being happy to put ten players behind the ball, Green had their chances and were unlucky not to go ahead four minutes later as captain Adam Goodby saw a glancing header go agonisingly wide of the post.
Leech then had to be at his best to tip Sherrington’s long-range effort over the bar with the resulting corner headed over by Bobbie Grayson.
Green’s crossbar was rattling nine minutes before the interval as Conway chased down a clearance with the ricochet looping onto the top of the woodwork before the Sporting striker saw a curling effort curl wide as the first half came to an end.
After seeing chances galore in the first half, the second was the total opposite as Sporting lacked the creativity and composure to find a way past a stubborn Green outfit.
It took until the 64th minute for the first meaningful chance of the half to come as Cowley burst into the area before cutting back to Conway who saw his shot towards an open goal desperately blocked by the hosts’ defence.
Defender Luke Edwards then saw his goal-ward bound header from Bunn’s corner with 18 minutes to go blocked with the rebound from Hewitt also failing to find its way through the large number of Green bodies in the box.
But it could have been the hosts who snatched a late winner in the 84th minute when substitute Walker showed neat skill to force his way into the area but he could only fire his low shot wide of the mark as the game went straight to penalties.
With the first kick Sam Wills put Sporting ahead in the shoot-out and it was advantage to the visitors when Leech dived to his left to save Sherrington’s effort.
However, in rather surprising circumstances, star striker Cowley proved he’s only human as his shot cannoned off the outside of the post, leaving Sam Jones to draw Green level.
Sporting’s Chris Lloyd and Green’s Richard Hopkins coolly dispatched their spot-kicks before Spink watched his effort saved down low by Maydew.
Dave Yonwin calmly slotted home from 12 yards out to put Green ahead but Ahmed Ali netted the Rouslers’ final spot-kick to make it 3-3.
With the chance to knock-out the unbeaten league champions of the tier above, Walker showed great composure to find the bottom right hand corner and send New Mill Lane into sheer elation.