Weston fans aren’t used to seeing their side in a penalty shootout, but they were the side celebrating full-time thanks to heroics from Liam Kingston, Jarrad Welch, George Morris-Edwards and co. thoughout the contest against league rivals Bath City.
Ash Kington’s shot was wide of the goal after being found by Danny Greenslade 20 yards out, as an even opening 15 minutes saw both sides retain possession fairly well.
George Morris-Edwards prevented a certain one-on-one chance for Andy Watkins, sliding across expertly like a seasoned pro to take the ball from the feet of Watkins as he bore down on goal.
A dinked pass to Tristan Plummer on the edge of the box from Aaron Parsons saw the winger shank wide on the volley, with Diallo’s shot going into Southwood’s midriff and Greenslade’s drive from outside the area going wide in the minutes that followed.
Weston were to take the lead just before half-time though when a poor Southwood clearance saw Jacob Cane put pressure on the reciever of the ball. The ball ran loose for Ash Kington, who fed it into Jake Lee’s feet immediately. With one flick, Lee put Welch in on goal, who unselfishly squared for Lee who tapped into an empty net to break the deadlock.
After the interval, Antoine Semenyo’s rasping drive from distance saw Kingston get down well to parry the shot away, before great interchange passing from Weston led to substitute Tom Llewellyn laying the ball off for Lee, who drove straight at Southwood.
Bath drew level just after the hour though when a poor pass-back and clearance from Kingston saw Watkins played through on goal, beating the offside trap and the Roman slotted past Kingston to level the score.
Trying to get back in front, Lee’s nodded pass through to Welch forced Southwood into a save with his feet, but Bath quickly turned the tie on its head. A carbon copy of the first goal, a poor pass-back to Kingston saw him feed Greenslade down an alley. The left-back couldn’t beat Watkins, who stole the ball and calmly placed his shot into the net for his 50th Bath goal.
With the momentum in Bath’s ascendency, Opi Edwards had a shot clawed from the top corner by Kingston, and as Weston fans couldn’t think things could get worse, Jack Batten, the own-goal scorer in that January game, attempted an audacious effort from halfway, which floated over Kingston’s head and rebounded off the woodwork.
Weston were back on level terms though when a bouncing ball fell Welch’s way, with his back to goal. With agility not seen by anyone else in a Seagulls shirt this season, the 19 year-old somehow flicked the ball away from three Bath defenders, and drilled a shot into the corner of the goal beyound Southwood’s reach to tie things up once more.
Tom Smith’s shot from distance was way off target, and a cross from Welch across the face of goal narrowly evaded the stretching legs of both Lee and Llewellyn, with a touch from anyone surely enough to take it into the net as the referee blew for full-time minutes later.
Both managers, after consulting with the match officials, mutually decided to take the game straight to penalties, and so the lottery began. Matt Richards and Antoine Semenyo scored the first two penalties for Bath, with Welch and Kington converting their spot-kicks for the Seagulls, taking second in each round.
Smith then hit the underside of the bar on Bath’s third penalty, with Greenslade calmly slotting home to put Weston in the driving seat.
Former Seagull Jack Compton slotted away his pen, before centre-back Jason Pope saw his shot palmed away by Southwood and onto the post, leaving things at 3-3 heading into the final round.
Roman captain Anthony Straker saw his left-footed spot-kick diverted away by Kingston, with all eyes now firmly placed on Seagull utility man Jake Lee who walked up to the penalty spot with nerves of steel. Placing the ball down, he stepped back and calmly rolled his penalty into the corner to send Weston through to the Somerset Cup Final, to be played against Paulton Rovers.
Full credit must go to the Seagulls supporters as well, who backed Liam Kingston on every spot kick he faced along with the five Weston penalty takers!
FT: Weston 2 – 2 Bath City (4 – 3 pens) (Lee 38, Welch 77 – Watkins 64,71)
(Weston pens: Scored – Welch, Kington, Greenslade, Lee; Missed – Pope)
(Bath pens: Scored – Richards, Semenyo, Compton; Missed – Smith, Straker)
Weston XI: Kingston, Parsons, Greenslade, Cane(C), Pope, Morris-Edwards, Kington, Diallo, Lee, Plummer(Llewellyn HT), Welch. Ununsed subs: Goodall, Scott, Purnell.
MOTM: Danny Greenslade – Despite all of the Weston players involved playing a huge part in the victory, Greenslade was voted MOTM by the match sponsors for some excellent defensive work, coupled with good attacking qualities on the ball down the left flank and showing composure under pressure to convert his spot-kick in the shootout.