Bromsgrove Sporting suffered penalty shoot-out heartache as they lost 5-4 on spot-kicks to Highgate United in the final of the Worcestershire FA Senior Urn at Kidderminster Harriers’ Aggborough stadium.
Despite dominating the majority of the proceedings the Rouslers fell behind after 36 minutes when Lei Brown reacted fastest to poke home the rebound from Marco Addagio’s low drive.
But with time running out, it was left to young Alfie Bloomer to force penalties as the substitute latched on to a long ball upfield before applying an instant touch to send the ball over the onrushing Brendan Bunn and into the roof of the net.
After both sides scored four of their penalties and missed one, it was Daniel Morris who missed his spot-kick in sudden death.
And up stepped James Luney to score the winner, ensuring Sporting lost for a second successive year in the county cup.
It was United who got the first chance of the game as Brown headed over Romario Martin’s cross inside five minutes before Luke Shorthouse sent a header wide immediately up the other end after a good cross from Chris Lloyd.
Bunn then had to have strong fists to parry Shorthouse’s powerful drive on the quarter hour mark.
The Rouslers certainly had the lion’s share of the possession but they were given a warning when Brown breached the back line and back-heeled the ball into the path of Addaggio who blasted well wide from inside the area.
Wills then sent a shot over the bar from the edge of the area after some good football from Ali with ten minutes of the first period remaining but a minute later it was United who took the lead.
Addaggio saw a powerful shot well saved by the foot of Brown in the Sporting goal but there was United’s Brown to act fast and apply the easiest of finishes to give the Midland League Premier Division outfit the lead.
Brown could have sent United into the break 2-0 to the good but just before the interval he headed over from Josh Hawker’s free-kick on the left-hand side.
After the break Sporting pushed forward as Shorthouse saw two efforts go wide and over the bar respectively by the 55th minute.
Ten minutes later Brown pulled off an astonishing save to push United’s Brown’s effort onto the bar and out for a corner.
The Sporting keeper then had to be at full stretch to prevent Martin’s free-kick from nestling in the bottom left-hand corner.
With nine minutes to go Bloomer was brought on in place of Wills and within six minutes he saw a header fly just over the bar from Pykett’s cross.
However, just a minute later the substitute was celebrating as he latched on to a long ball upfield before sending an instant volley from about 25 yards over Bunn and into the back of the net to force penalties.
Ahmed Ali scored the first for Sporting before Macauley Manning equalised.
Robbie Bunn then saw his penalty saved which allowed United skipper Hawker to make it 2-1.
Shorthouse levelled things up but goalscorer Brown restored United’s advantage.
Bloomer equalised with a calm finish before Tom Lacey saw his penalty saved by Brown.
Keenan Meakin-Richards and Addaggio both scored their spot kicks to force sudden death.
Morris then saw his effort saved and up stepped Luney to hit the winner, sending Brown the wrong way.
Match report by Craig Gibbons of the Bromsgrove Standard.