Kidsgrove Athletic 3 Willenhall Town 3

Wednesday 1st October 2008
Kidsgrove Athletic 3 Willenhall Town 3

(3-3 at 90 mins and after extra time, Kidsgrove won 4-3 on penalties)
Unibond League Cup First Round
At: Seddon Stadium
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: press pass; Programme: £1-50p
Attendance: 89
Weather: prolonged heavy rain showers, cold
Duration: first-half: 46:18; second-half: 48:00
Extra-time (15): first-half: 15:00; second-half: 15:00

It was worth going though the 'pain' on extra time to witness the tense penalty shoot-out which Kidsgrove won in dramatic fashion. The home side to the lead and lost it three times with Willenhall netting their third equaliser deep into stoppage time at the end of the 90 minutes. The late finish didn't matter, nor did having to file my copy back home before going to bed.

After my minor difficulty in finding the ground two weeks ago, normal service was restored and I got to the Seddon Stadium with putting a foot wrong!

As before, programmes (£1-50) were sold before the turnstiles. This time I decided to have a go at the Golden Goal competition and purchased a sealed envelope containing the time which the winner needed to coincide with the first goal of the game.

Inside the ground, I headed for the Press/PA Box where teamsheets were available from the Secretary, who also performed the duty of tannoy announcer as well. I suppose, as a shy sort of person, it does take me time to get chatty with people but I'm starting to get to know people here at Kidsgrove and them getting use to me covering their home games.

It is no suprise, considering I was there two weeks ago, that the ground is as described previously. Main seated stand on the halfway line with other seated stand opposite and further covered seating behind both goals. Just before kick-off, I opted for a seat in the main stand and decided to keep my envelope sealed until the first goal was scored. What time would it contain?

Kidsgrove (blue shirts, blue shorts and blue socks) got the game underway attacking down the slope towards the Harold Taylor Stand, which contained the drummer and a few chanting home fans.

In the 9th minute, Dave Shaw flicked the ball into the path of Andy Hurst who was brought down inside the area by Brendan Kelly. Penalty pointed the referee and Shaw sent Luke Tilt the wrong way from the spot to put Grove 1-0 up.

"The winning golden goal time is nine minutes," came the announcement or something like that. Time to open the envelope which contained '16' - never mind!

Willenhall (red shirts, red shorts and red socks) took nine minutes to get back on level terms. Scott Stevenson delivered a free-kick from the left into the area and Rory May netted with a downward header.

Within a couple of the equaliser, the first of several spells of torrential rain commenced which in the first half was slanted into the faces of the Willenhall defenders.

But Grove quickly got back in from with an own goal in the 23rd minute courtesy of Kelly, the same unfortunate Willenhall skipper who had conceded the penalty. He could only help Hurst's low right-wing cross past his own keeper. Kidsgrove soon went close to another goal. Tim Sanders hammered a rsing 25-yard shot against the bar.

Once again, Willenhall hit back seven minutes before the interval, this time with a well-struck 25-yarder from Justin Nisbett.

Half-time and a most welcome cup of tea and cakes!

Now attacking up the slope towards the Seddon Stand, Kidsgrove took the lead for the third time five minutes after the restart. Adam Miller headed home a cross from Aiden Matranga at close range.

Shaw saw a header cleared off the line as Grove almost doubled their lead.

Willenhall pressed for an equaliser and it remained 3-2 to Kidsgrove when "the minimum of three minutes of added time" commenced. Frustratingly from the home side but to the delight of the visitors, Willenhall equalised for the third time on the second minute of injury time. May's drove the ball into a crowded six-yard box and it went in off a Kidsgrove defender.

The visitors went closest to finding a winner in extra time when May fired against the woodwork.

Cue the penalty shoot-out in front of the Seddon Stand.

First to step up was Rory May who saw his penalty saved by Adam Wilkes. Luke Tilt repeated the feat to deny Andy Hurst.

Luke Findlay put away Willenhall second penalty and the score remained 1-0 to the visitors when Kidsgrove missed their second spot kick.

Both sides missed their third penalties in similar fashion (over the bar) before Craig Milligan made it 2-0 - It looked all over from Kidsgrove who needed to net their fourth to stay in the contest which they did through Sanders.

Even though Sanders' spot-kick went in, Willenhall simply needed to score from their fifth penalty to settle the tie but Wilkes produced a vital save.

The pressure was still on as Matt Elder needed to score, which he duly did. It was 2-2 after five penalties each so sudden death to decide whether Kidsgrove or Willenhall progress into the next round.

Lorcan Spittle and Tom Schwartz both put away their penalties to maintain the tension and make it 3-3 after six penalties each. Willenhall's seventh hit the outside of the left-hand post via Wilkes' fingers and Danny Smith sent Luke Tilt the wrong way to win the tie 4-3.

Kidsgrove Athletic (blue/blue/blue): 1. Adam Wilkes, 2. Danny Smith, 3. Craig Dove, 4. Matt Elder, 5. Tom Schwartz, 6. Jordan White, 7. Aiden Matranga (capt), 8. Karl Miller, 9. Dave Shaw, 10. Andy Hurst, 11. Tim Sanders. Subs: 12. Andy Matthews (for Miller, 77), 14. Chris Leigh (not used), 15. Tom Moss (for Shaw, 84), 16. Chris Smith (not used).

Willenhall Town (red/red/red): 1. Luke Tilt, 2. Ashley Langford, 3. Craig Milligan, 4. Brendan Kelly (capt), 5. Lorcan Spittle, 14. Shaun Griffiths, 7. Scott Stevenson, 8. Shaun Findlay, 9. Rory May, 10. Justin Nisbett, 11. Luke Findlay. Subs: 12. Wayne Brown (for Nisbett, 114), 14. Jay Hawkins (not used), 15. Matt Salmon (for Shaun Findlay, 81).

Referee: G Etchells.
Assistants: L Taylor and I Hurdle.

1-0 Dave Shaw (9)
1-1 Rory May (18)
2-1 Brendan Kelly (23 og)
2-2 Justin Nisbett (38)
3-2 Karl Miller (50)
3-3 Rory May (90+2)

0-0 Willenhall Rory May - MISS saved by Wilkes
0-0 Kidsgrove Andy Hurst - MISS saved by Tilt
0-1 Willenhall Luke Findlay - SCORED
0-1 Kidsgrove Tom Moss - MISS saved by Tilt
0-1 Willenhall Brendan Kelly - blasted over bar
0-1 Kidsgrove Aiden Matranga - lifted over bar
0-2 Willenhall Craig Millian - SCORED
1-2 Kidsgrove Tim Sanders - SCORED
1-2 Willenhall Matt Salmon - MISS saved by Wilkes
2-2 Kidsgrove Matt Eldeer - SCORED so sudden death
2-3 Willenhall Lorcan Spittle - SCORED
3-3 Kidsgrove Craig Dove - SCORED
3-3 Willenhall Scott Stevenson - MISS hit post
4-3 Kidsgrove Danny Smith - SCORED!!!!!

Kidsgrove: none.
Willenhall: none.