Things fall apart for Lions in surprise cup exit

Long Sutton Athletic Football Club, London Road - first-half action v Stamford Lions ANL-150913-110729001
Long Sutton Athletic Football Club, London Road - first-half action v Stamford Lions ANL-150913-110729001

Stamford Lions FC threw away a 4-0 lead and with it their opportunity to progress in the Lincs FA County Junior Cup as they ended up crashing out 3-0 in a disastrous penalty shoot out, having finished 4-4 with Pointon at full-time.

After a cagey opening spell the Lions took the lead when Sam Rayner headed in a Rob Forster corner midway through the first half.

New signing Tom Edwards then went close to doubling the lead with a header before Jack Travers sent his effort over the bar.

Stamford were then in debt to keeper Jimmy Russon as he pulled off a fine double save to preserve the slender lead.

On 55 minutes Lions’ top scorer Ryan Brown emerged from the substitute bench after controversially being left out of the starting line up.

Brown made his presence felt by slamming home a hat-trick within 10 minutes of coming on.

He immediately doubled the lead with a fierce volley from an Edwards’ cross.

Five minutes later and he grabbed his second. Again Edwards was the provider, this time Brown headed into the top corner.

The hat-trick was complete when Brown brushed off his marker and fired an unstoppable shot past Tom Hill in the Pointon goal.

The game seemed finished as the Stamford side piled on the pressure looking to add to the score. Hill was called into action on several occasions denying Lions from extending the lead.

Then against the run of play a quick counter attack saw the defence pierced and a neat finish breathed life into Pointon. A second goal soon followed when a cross was met and powerfully headed past Russon.

The second goal re-ignited a game that had looked over.

Stamford Lions drove forward in attack and were only denied a fifth goal by an outstanding double save from Hill.

With six minutes remaining Lions were left exposed as a through ball was not dealt with but fired in to close the gap to one.

With only seconds remaining Pointon grabbed an equaliser when a deep cross which was headed back across goal and bundled home to stun the visiting side.

Extra-time followed and the Lions brushed off their disappointment and took back control of the game.

Forster went close with an effort before Sean Kelly headed a chance against the bar. Edwards then saw his effort sail over as time and again chances to win the game went begging.

As the final whistle blew a penalty shoot was the way to separate the sides and Pointon keeper Hill proved the hero as he acrobatically saved the first three well struck kicks to end the shoot out 3-0 and dump the Lions out of the cup.

Stamford Lions FC: Jimmy Russon, Luke Ball, Sean Kelly, Joe Lippett, Jake Walton, Danny Sheehan, Sam Rayner, Sean ODonnell, Jack Travers(Ryan Brown), Tom Edwards, Rob Forster

(Subs- Barry Burton, James Sheehan)