Fakenham Town earned themselves the right to take on King’s Lynn Town under lights at Carrow Road in the Final of the Norfolk Senior Cup, after a dramatic encounter with Harleston Town on Wednesday night.
The Ghosts’ clash with the Anglian Combination Premier Division outfit was also decided on penalties, 24 hours after the Linnets got the better of Ryman League Division One North play-off hopefuls Norwich United.
Wayne Anderson’s side couldn’t be accused of booking their place in May’s showcase final the easy way, after playing much of the second half with 10 men after George Abbott sent off for a second bookable offence.
Anderson’s side controlled large periods of the first half, but couldn’t make their pressure tell and it was Harleston that took the lead before the break when Nathan Russell fired Adam Gusterson’s side into the lead after the Ghosts failed to deal with a Harleston corner.
With the score line against them and a man down it was going to take a big 45 minutes from Fakenham to give themselves any chance of progressing and Anderson’s troops dug deep and upped their game and with 61 minutes on the clock Ashley Jarvis turned a Sam Garner free-kick past David Shannon to level things up.
Both sides battled on but neither were able to manage more than half changes in the last 30 minutes of normal time and that was a pattern continued into extra time, with the best chance to put the tie to bed falling to the Ghosts after a scramble in the Harleston six-yard box.
Kyle Plumb thought he had just done enough to see the ball over the line, as did the had Ghosts’ players and supporters, behind the goal, but were left frustrated when the officials denied them, insisting the ball hadn’t crossed the line.
With no goals arriving, the tie went to penalties which saw Plumb, Joel Glover, Matty Dye, Josh Youngs & Matt Gilchrist convert to win the tie 5-4 on penalties. Ghosts keeper Tommy Rix saved two of the penalties he faced.
The Ghosts will go head to head with Lynn on Monday, May 22 and Anderson told the Lynn News he is looking forward to a “special game” with his former club.
“It is going to be a really special game for us and we deserve it, I am so proud of the boys tonight,” he said.
“It is going to a night to remember for everyone at the football club, the boys have worked really hard to get here and they deserve to be playing at Carrow Road, and for me to be going up against Lynn makes the whole thing that bit more memorable.”
The Ghosts face a tough return to league action this weekend when they travel to high-flying Mildenhall Town, who are currently six points clear at the top of the Premier Division table.
Elsewhere, Swaffham play host to Haverhill Rovers and in the First Division Downham Town travel to Halstead.