Daniels and Bean see Rangers through
Southampton Rangers will face Robin Hood in the FA Cup final after an entertaining penalty shoot-out victory over Paget Lions in the semi-finals at Somerset Cricket Club last night.
Southampton and Paget finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and the score remained deadlocked after extra time. Rangers then outscored the Lions 5-3 on penalty kicks. Hood beat PHC Zebras 4-3 in a shoot-out after their semi-final ended goalless after extra time.
Leading 4-3 in the first shoot-out, Rangers goalkeeper Ajai Daniels made one of the penalty saves of his life as he dove full length to his right to deny Lions captain Jenson Rogers the chance of equalising, leaving Akale Bean the task of scoring the winning spot-kick to send the Rangers players and fans into jubilant celebrations.
Rogers had slotted home the winning penalty in Paget’s shoot-out win over BAA in the quarter-finals last month.
Dion Stovell, Paget’s prominent striker, opened the scoring in the 38th minute when he ran onto an inch perfect through-ball by Davin Dill before outpacing his marker to unleash a brilliant shot that sailed passed the outstretched arms of onrushing goalkeeper Daniels into the net.
Paget’s defence of Rogers, McQuinn Burch, Robert Richardson and Julian Carpenter were holding firm with crunching tackles to cancel out most attacks Southampton threw at them.
However, in the second half, Southampton’s attacking unit of Shannon Coddington-Burchall, Quadir Maynard and Donte Brangman began to stretch holes in the Lions defence with good ball control and short, crisp passing, forcing Paget to make desperate late tackles that at times resulted in reckless fouls.
In the 57th minute, Burch was guilty of conceding a free kick just outside the penalty area. From the resulting set piece, Brangman struck a hard and low drive that went through the wall and into the net beating Paget goalkeeper Jason Smith to his right.
Both teams had chances to score in extra time. Brangman sliced wide from an angle before Burch headed over from close range leaving the game tied.
It was Daniels’s turn to take centre stage in the penalty shoot-outs. All penalties had been scored until he pulled off his acrobatic save to send Rangers into the final on April 8.
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