Town Youth 1 Stourbridge 1
(Stourbridge won 4-2 on penalties)
An inspired performance from Stourbridge keeper Peter Hawk, which included saving two Town penalties in the deciding shoot-out before blasting in the winning spot kick himself, propelled the Glassboys into the quarter finals of the Birmingham County Youth Cup following a closely fought second round tie at the Arden Garages Stadium on Thursday evening.
Earlier the sides had been level at 1-1 after 90 minutes with Sacha Everard’s own goal which had given Stourbridge a half time lead being cancelled out when Hawk was left helpless by an attempted clearance from Hayden Reeves.
Town had made the brighter start with Callum Gallagher firing into the side netting inside five minutes and Hawk had to make his first serious save of the evening after only a quarter of an hour getting down well to push out a Caine Elliott free kick at the foot of his right hand post.
Tommy Harrington wasn’t far away with a decent effort from 20 yards out, but the Glassboys came more into the game from the half hour mark.
Both Rio McFarlane and Tyrese Bevan went close and Town keeper Ryan Woodward did well to turn away another Bevan attempt at point blank range.
At the other end Harrington had Town’s best chance yet on 35 minutes but Hawk pulled off another smart save stretching to his right and three minutes later Stourbridge took the lead.
McFarlane’s low drive was deflected behind and when the corner came across Everard and Reeves went for it together and the ball ricocheted off the luckless Town defender into the net.
Town had the chance of an immediate equaliser but Hawk was quickly off his line to block at Harrington’s feet to keep the Glassboys in front at the break.
Darren Timms sent on Bradley West and Tyrike Richards-Burke to provide additional firepower at the start of the second half but they couldn’t find a way past Hawk.
A run down the right by Richards-Burke ended with his whipped-in cross being cut out by Hawk as before West could reach it, and soon after Richards-Burke beat the offside trap to be one-on-one with Hawk who kept out the shot with his outstretched right leg.
West had a fierce attempt beaten away by the keeper and then had another effort cleared off the line by Reeves as Town continued to pile on the pressure.
By now Harry Hartin was on as well and with 15 minutes to go he drilled over a low cross from the left which Reeves could only divert past Hawk as he tried to clear for the second own goal of the game.
Having at last drawn level Town went all out for the winner but Hawk made an unbelievable save as he pushed over a fiercely struck effort from Jack Ballinger and followed that up with another brave block from West and a further smart save when Ballinger threatened again.
And so it went to penalties. Josh Aspinall-Smyth fired in Town’s first but the Glassboys nosed ahead when Hawk beat out Hartin’s attempt. Town were back in it as Callum Phipps blazed over and Everard levelled it all up, but when Town’s fourth penalty taken by West was pushed away by Hawk plunging to his left it meant that if Stourbridge were successful with their fifth they would be through.
And Hawk then completed his incredible evening by stepping up to blast it past Woodward with the minimum of fuss before disappearing under a scrum of his ecstatic team mates.