It was penalty drama all the way as these two just could not be separated in the Elizabeth Canning Final at Parklea. After two spot kicks cancelled each other out in regulation time, it all boiled down to the cruel lottery of the penalty shootout. And it was Arthurlie who finally stumbled over the line in the heat, with both sides toiling in the hot conditions.
Scott Wilson was the Arthurlie hero after this epic two hour struggle, saving all three Benburb penalties aimed at him. The Arthurlie players had just about enough left in the tank to celebrate its dramatic end. Cruel on Benburb, who had their own keeper to thank after a string of first half saves kept their hopes alive.
Arthurlie looked to have taken a real grip of the game in the opening half, with the bulk of the chances. Peter Haggarty and Martin Curren were denied by good early blocks before Jack Duffy fired home the first of the day’s spot kicks, as Cameron Craig brought down Daryl Convery in the box on 16 minutes. The Benburb keeper escaped with a yellow, adjudged not to have been the last man, and he was to have a busy opening half.
After going behind his team looked disjointed, with Arthurlie pressing them back, not allowing them time to settle on the ball. As Benburb tried to play the ball out, they were being quickly pounced on by the Arthurlie forwards, and mistakes were forced.
Arthurlie were almost in again as Haggarty dispossessed Ross Goodwin outside the box, but couldn’t find the target. Jamie Gray was also stretching the Benburb defence with several dangerous runs committing defenders.
They had their keeper to thank again as he pulled off two fine stops, firstly tipping over a Haggarty shot after Curren played him through, and then from Gray, sent through one on one to block the shot on 41 minutes.
Arthurlie were good value for their lead at the break, perhaps wondering why they weren’t out of sight, with only Duffy’s spot kick the difference between the sides.