Senior Cup quarter final: Merlins Bridge 3-3 Hundleton (Merlins Bridge won 4-3 on penalties)

Holders Merlins Bridge can count themselves fortunate to have dramatically clinched this tie on penalties against second division side Hundleton.

The score read 1-1 after 90 minutes, and The Wizards were just five minutes from heading out as impressive Hundleton led 3-1 in extra time.

But Joe Leahy scored from the spot in the 115th minute to make it 2-3, and three minutes later the home side were awarded a controversial second penalty for hand ball, and up stepped Peter Thomas to coolly level matters and force more penalties.

The Wizards then dramatically won the shootout 4-3 to reach the semis.

Leahy opened the scoring in the 16th minute, getting on the end of Adam Hawkins’ cross to head against a luckless visiting defender before the ball crossed the line.

The visitors levelled matters midway through the first period when Billy Davis struck from inside the box, but there no further goals as the tie reached extra time.

In the 95th minute Hundleton were awarded a penalty which Jack Blunsden clinically despatched. Then matters got worse for the holders as substitute Connor Hay struck the back of the net to give his side a 3-1 cushion. At this point a shock exit was on the cards for Simon Thomas’ Wizards.

But like all good teams they staged an unlikely fightback as Leahy struck from the spot and then Thomas also scored from 12 yards to force the see saw tie to penalties.

Wizards keeper James Dickson pulled off two good saves to deny Hundleton in the shootout – and Bridge’s Peter Thomas, Lee Hudgell, Ashley Beck and Leahy all made no mistake to send the relieved holders into the last four of the competition.

Merlins Bridge manager Simon Thomas: “We really didn’t deserve to win it. I have to confess that they were the better side and we can thank our lucky stars that we’ve reached the semis.”

Hundleton manager Jack Richards: “We played them off the park. I’m gutted for the boys as we really deserved to win. I felt their last penalty was a harsh decision.

“Now we have to concentrate on the league and trying to gain promotion.”

Merlins Bridge: James Dickson, Gethin Roberts, Peter Thomas, Simon Gilderdale, Andrew John, Ashley Beck, Luke Hayward, Will Haworth, Joe Leahy, Lee Hudgell. Subs: Matthew D’Ivry, Ben Davies, Dai Davies.

Hundleton: Daniel Griffiths, Daniel Powers, Billy Abrahams, Rhys Griffiths, Alex Lewis, Geraint Lewis, Billy Davis, Rhys Davis, Michael Davis, Marc Edwards, Jack Blunsden. Subs: Jamie Stanley, Connor Hay, Connor Carroll, Scott Brunton, Jack Richards.

Referee: Sion Jenkins.