Late Lemon penalty clinches silverware for Droitwich - The Droitwich Standard

Late Lemon penalty clinches silverware for Droitwich

Droitwich Editorial 30th Apr, 2016 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016   0

DROITWICH SPA are champions of the Worcestershire Junior Cup as a 98th-minute penalty from James Lemon ensured the Saltmen secured a 3-2 victory over West Midlands (Regional) League outfit Worcester Raiders.

Nick Seabourne had given Spa the lead in the 19th minute before Dale Goddard levelled the tie 20 minutes from time. Lemon restored Spa’s advantage in the 87th minute only to see Raiders claw their way back in the 96th minute through Anthony Smith.

However, the drama wasn’t over as two minutes later, substitute Haydn Morris was brought down in the area and up stepped Lemon to bury home the penalty which secured victory and silverware for Spa.

Going into this game without conceding a goal all tournament, the 2013/14 WJC winners started the brightest with James Halsall, Seabourne and Jack Brighton carving out opportunities in the first 15 minutes but all failed to hit the target.

Eventually, Spa’s superiority in the opening exchanges proved fruitful when from Brighton’s corner, Michael Seeley headed the ball towards the back post where Seabourne stood primed and ready to nod home.

A fantastic double save from Raiders keeper Dan Stephens in the 24th minute kept the score at 1-0 as he firstly denied Lemon before parrying the rebound from Macaulay Finch.

Raiders slowly forced their way back into the game and their power and strength up top rewarded them with two dangerous free kicks on the edge of Spa’s penalty area but both Lewis Butterworth and Smith could only strike their efforts into a resilient Saltmen wall.

The woodwork came to the rescue of Raiders in the 36th minute when Halsall’s whipped in free-kick from the left-hand touchline beat Stephens before crashing against the bar.

Max Crisp must have thought he had put Spa 2-0 up two minutes from time but after collecting Finch’s knock down, his volley was deflected wide with the Raiders keeper rooted to his spot.

Despite their handful of chances, it was Raiders who ended the half on top as they forced three consecutive corners deep into first half injury time but Spa remained resilient as they managed to clear to maintain their 1-0 lead going into the break.

From the restart, Spa continued to go for the second goal which would have more than likely killed the game off but Seabourne, Lemon and Finch wasted good opportunities which came back to haunt them in the 69th minute.

After the ball pinballed around in Spa’s penalty area, it landed at the feet of Goddard on the edge of the area who placed a well-driven shot beyond Oliver to level the tie – the first goal Spa had conceded all tournament.

Raiders began to dominate the proceedings and they should have taken the lead in the 77th minute but after finding some space on the left, Joe Haines cut inside only to curl his effort over the bar.

Spa’s management team of Wayne Oliver and Mark Owen began to order their side to show some desire and go for the win and their efforts were rewarded in the 87th minute when a mix-up at the back allowed Lemon to pick the ball up and slot home into an unguarded net.

Raiders keeper Stephens was injured in the process of the goal and was forced off but this didn’t phase them as the drama didn’t end when Smith netted from a long throw in, a goal which looked to have sent the final to penalties.

However, Spa had other ideas as from the restart, the ball made it’s way to Morris who broke clear of his man before being hauled down in the area and referee Ricky Brookes pointed to the spot.

Lemon picked up the ball and with the pressure of clinching silverware on his shoulder, he composed himself brilliantly, firing the ball home into the bottom corner of the net to ensure the Saltmen claimed the WJC.

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