BAA pay penalty as Lions roar into semis
Paget Lions booked their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a thrilling penalty shoot-out win over First Division promotion rivals BAA at Goose Gosling Field last night.
Paget won the shoot-out 4-2, with captain Jenson Rogers slotting home the winning penalty with the game finishing 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time.
The Lions took the lead in the 20th minute, when Tahj Wade half-volleyed a poor headed clearance past BAA goalkeeper Sareiko Thomas and it looked as though they had done enough to win in normal time. However, incessant BAA pressure told when Marcus Brangman scored a far-post header from Kane Critchlow's cross after a quick free-kick from Drewonde Bascome with four minutes remaining.
BAA kept piling on the pressure in extra time, until Troy Tucker was sent off a second yellow card for booting the ball into the stands after the referee's whistle had gone.
Wade stepped up to take responsibility with the first spot-kick of the shootout and blasted it into the top corner, and BAA were on the back foot when impressive Paget goalkeeper Tarik Smith saved Ian Simmons's penalty to his right.
However, Julian Carpenter, who was solid at left back for Paget, shot his kick over the crossbar and Bascome sent Smith the wrong way to make it 1-1 with two penalties each.
Tahjae Welch scored with a low shot into the left corner and the score stayed at 2-1 after three rounds when Morricko Iris hit the bar.
Demarlo Curtis kept the pressure on the home side by slotting his penalty past Thomas and Zeon Robinson kept BAA in it by scoring the next one for BAA, before right back Rogers led by example with the winning penalty
Paget did not look anything like a side who had lost 5-0 to the same opponents last week, with Robert Richardson particularly impressive in the centre of the Lions defence and coach Robert Lee said teamwork won the day when asked what the difference was from the previous weekend.
“[It was] playing together as a team, just coming in and being focused,” Lee said. “I just said we have to come back together. It didn't seem like we played together in the last game. We just had to come back, refocus and come out and try to win this. I didn't want to lose to them again.”
BAA coach Andrew Bascome paid tribute to both teams after a “tough” loss, but admitted that his side did not take their chances.
”We showed character, coming back from 1-0, but in the FA Cup it's tough,” he said. “You find the underdogs are always going to come with the passion and desire. One of my biggest concerns is losing players because we still have this league that we're pushing for. So we just wanted to stay organised. Stay in the match for long periods and try to get the victory. But we didn't get the result that we would like, but it was a good game.
“They came with a lot more, and that's what sports is. It brings out the best. We knew they were going to come with fight and passion and the FA Cup does that.
“We can say this and say that, but at the end of the day it's the score. We moved the ball well, but we have to score and be more effective in the last third.
“We just have to be more clincal in front of goal and that will come. That's what games like this does; it gives you the desire and determination to do well, so we have to use it as a positive.
“I would like to say congratulations to Paget. It's good for the game.”
The sides now resume their battle for the second-tier title, with BAA one point ahead of Paget, who are two points ahead of third-placed Southampton Rangers in what is shaping up to be a three-way battle for the two promotion spots.
“I think [the win] refocuses us after losing the last game,” Lee said. “And now coming back and beating the team that beat us focuses us for the league and hopefully going forward we can win our matches.”