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28th May, 2022

FOOTBALL - Pershore Town 1-1 Worcester City (Pershore win 4-3 on penalties)

PERSHORE Town won the Worcestershire Senior Cup via a dramatic penalty shootout as the Plums edged a closely fought final against Worcester City in sudden death.

Sam Clark’s stunner on 83 minutes took the game to a shootout after Demetri Brown opened the scoring on 68 minutes at Bromsgrove Sporting’s Victoria Ground.

And a dramatic shootout ensued with five missed penalties before Scott Hammond struck the winning spot kick down the middle of the goal to seal the trophy in front of 1,190 fans.

The final marked Pershore’s first appearance in the showpiece and biggest club achievement to date whilst step five Worcester, who play one level above the Plums in the Midland Football League Premier Division, have won the trophy a record 28 times.

And the game started at a frantic pace and Pershore spurned an early chance when Aidan Clark’s volley from close range was somehow kept out by Worcester stopper Harrison.

The Plums had another chance to cause trouble from a set-piece on the left-hand side only for Jordan Jones to curl the ball over the bar and out for a goal kick.

Worcester responded with a chance at the other end after a corner flashed across the face of goal before Aaron Roberts headed over at the back post from Bailey Fuller’s cross.

And City threatened again soon after when Fuller jinked his way down the right before his cross was blocked behind by the sliding Kirk Layton.

Pershore then missed another gilt edged chance when the ball dropped kindly for A Clark in the box only for the striker to shoot straight at Harrison from 15-yards out.

And Danny Janes’ side went close again when James Hancocks’ corner from the right travelled all the way across goal with nobody in a blue shirt able to turn the ball the home.

Worcester forced Town keeper Eddie Cox into his first save of the half when Fuller’s low drive from 25-yards out was tipped behind low down to Cox’s left for a corner.

And a mix up at the back between Layton and Cox almost ended in calamity when the Pershore defender fired a pass into the keeper as he advanced from his goal with Cox somehow able to scramble the ball to safety.

With the game scoreless at the break, Pershore started the second half on the front foot and hit the top of the crossbar from Scott Hammond’s wayward cross.

The Plums looked the more likely team to break the deadlock when Baldwin weaved his way to the edge of the penalty area before firing a tame effort into the gloves of Harrison.

And Pershore then wasted a free-kick in a promising position 25-yards from goal as a tame effort from the left was easily caught by Harrison.

However, Worcester took the lead with their first clear-cut chance of the match when former Sporting player Brown scored at his old stomping ground after he coolly lifted the ball over Cox following an exchange of passes with George Baker.

Brown almost added a second goal as the half wore on after the striker created panic in the Pershore defence before firing a first-time effort narrowly over the bar.

Despite appearing to be on the back foot, out of nowhere, S Clark unleashed a stunning effort into the top right corner from the edge of the penalty area to bring Pershore level with Worcester keeper Harrison unmoved.

Worcester pressed for a winner in the closing stages and almost found one when Brown headed into the arms of Cox before the keeper saved Reiss Taylor-Randle’s low shot at his near post.

At the other end, the Plums won another free-kick in a promising position, 25-yards from goal on the right-hand side, only for Hancocks to curl an effort well over the bar and out of the ground.

City wasted a free-kick in a similar position at the other end when James Douglas’ powerful effort went a couple of yards over the top.

However, Worcester almost snatched the trophy at the death when Layton inadvertently turned the ball onto his own post before the referee blew his final whistle moments later with the game to be decided on penalties.

Douglas converted Worcester’s first penalty before substitute Petar Tonchev finished confidently into the roof of the net to draw Pershore level.

City goalscorer Brown edged Worcester back into the lead with a cool kick with Hancocks finding the top left corner with his penalty.

Worcester’s Mapmosa then wildly blazed over to hand Town the chance to take the lead after three kicks with Roland Krol duly blasting home to hand Pershore the advantage.

Sub Bobbie Dale easily converted into the corner to level things up only for Layton to blast an effort off the outside the post with Pershore’s fourth penalty.

However, there was more drama to come when Cox brilliantly saved Taylor-Randle’s penalty diving low to his right only for Baldwin to smash the crossbar with what could have been the decisive penalty.

And Worcester’s Archie Muirhead then hit the post to again hand Pershore the chance to win the trophy with Hammond coolly finishing down the middle to spark wild scenes of celebration on the pitch.

The Plums memorable run to the final, which included wins against step three Bromsgrove and Redditch United, ended with a fairytale victory which was celebrated with their travelling fans after the trophy presentation.

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