Brave Fakenham Town bow out of the FA Vase to Binfield on penalties
FA Vase Fourth Round
Fakenham Town 2 Binfield 2 (Binfield win 4-1 on penalties)
Brave Fakenham Town bowed out of the FA Vase at the fourth round stage after losing a penalty shoot-out to Binfield at the Daly Group Stadium.
The history-making Ghosts twice led through Callum Brain strikes in regulation time, only to be twice be pegged back by a brace from Josh Helmore.
And Fakenham, who had won three of their previous ties in this season's competition from the spot, were unable to repeat the feat against their Step Five visitors as Shane Akers and Josh Hazell saw their spot-kicks saved.
Ghosts manager Andy Cunningham said: "I'm proud of the players to scrap as well as they did and you can't fault their effort.
"I had a chat with their gaffer before it went to penalties and probably thought that our penalty luck had run out prior to taking them and that's how it proved.
"I think Binfield having a competitive game last Saturday gave them a slight edge in terms of that physicality and the tempo was a little bit higher from them than it was from us at times.
"With players having to come off with injuries, we were probably a little bit thin on the quality needed to get us through in the end.
"Our cup journey has given us a bit of insight and experience of what we'll need to learn from going forward for next season.
"They kept us penned in our own half at times, they had that extra little bit of physicality and it's about selecting the right pass at the right time."
Fakenham took the lead in the sixth minute after Brain weaved as his way past four defenders before firing into the back of the net as several visiting players looked for the offside flag.
Binfield were back on level terms 12 minutes before the interval when Sean Moore laid the ball on a plate for Josh Helman to sab home from five yards.
Goalkeeper Tom Coombe kept Fakenham's lead intact going into the break by keeping out Moore's header at point-blank range.
After losing skipper Matty Franks to injury three minutes into the second period, Fakenham got their noses back in front for a second time after 60 minutes.
Visiting goalkeeper Chris Grace was unable to hold onto a cross and Brain bundled the ball into the empty net for his second goal of the afternoon.
No sooner had they taken the lead for a second time, it was all-square again as Helman netted his second goal of the tie.
Brain rattled the Binfield crossbar with a stunning effort, but when he limped off with a tight calf, the Ghosts were forced to dig in for the final 20 minutes of the contest.
Binfield were clinical from the spot, while Grace pulled off great saves to deny both Shane Akers and Josh Hazell for the Ghosts, whose only penalty was tucked away by Ash Jarvis.
Fakenham Town (4-3-3): Coombe, Akers, Fields, Franks, Youngs, Hazell, Robinson, Hogston, Jarvis, Brain, Charlesworth (Grand 87). Subs not used: Taylor, Whitmore and Wengrow.
Binfield (4-3-3): Grace: Thompson-Wheeler, Hancock, Chamberlain, Willment, Gavin, Harris, McClurg, Moore, Short, Helmore (Howell 66). Subs not used: Ferdinand, Maloney, Valentine, Veal, Johnson, Ayoub.
Referee: Thomas Harvey.