Penalties revenge glory for North Notts in Vase shoot-out

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North Notts Hockey Club gained revenge on Streetly in the England Hockey HA Vase with a penalty strokes victory to see them through to the next round after the sides had been locked at 2-2.

On Saturday Notts had been awarded three points for their home game against Wellingborough as the away side were unable to field a side, moving Notts into fifth in the league but only four points off second place.

More importantly, with a rest on the Saturday Notts were fully charged to take on Streetly on Sunday.

The last time the two sides met, Streetly ran out victorious after North Notts performed terribly in the penalty shoot-out after a hard-fought draw during normal time. This time it was Notts who took the shoot-out 5-4.

Notts manager Jay Faulkner said: “That was a very hard game for us, but I think we just edged it.

“We had the better of the chances during the game and should have closed the game out.

“The quality of the flicks from us was outstanding and the Streetly keeper didn’t get close to any which is very pleasing.

“Special credit goes to Rhys Jepson who was super confident with his flick - it was a risk on my part as I’ve never seen him take one, but sometimes you have to trust the arrogance of youth.

“Our goal now is to finish off the first half of the season with two more victories.”

The game started at a frantic pace with Streetly almost catching the Notts defence out in the opening minute, the Streetly skipper throwing a massive aerial attack which Notts failed to deal with, the Streetly forward running onto the ball and firing over the bar.

The reply was swift from Notts, who mounted their own response, Allen Butler forcing a save from the Streetly keeper.

The first penalty corner for Notts came on nine minutes and William Butler forced a fine save from the Streetly keeper. From the save, Streetly launched their own attack and after sustained pressure they came close again through a penalty corner.

On 14 minutes Notts were punished for failing to keep hold of the ball and a swift counter attack from Streetly almost paid dividends, the Streetly forward managing to get a strike towards goal with Notts keeper Paul Unwin isolated. It seemed a goal was certain, only for Anthony Clay to clear off the line and save Notts.

Then on 17 minutes Notts took the lead, Allen Butler winning a short corner then converting the strike himself.

The remainder of the half saw Notts dominate, Allen Butler again coming close with a thunderous strike which hit a post and deflected out.

Two minutes later Marc Johnson’s reverse strike was cleared from the line as Notts looked for a second goal.

On 33 minutes the elusive second came from Nathan Smith, who coolly slotted the ball home, reward for such an outstanding first half from the midfielder.

At half-time manager Faulkner warned the Notts team the game was not over and the next goal would be pivotal.

The second half started with Notts looking strong again in midfield and unfortunately the home side went close but were unable to find the killer pass to break down Streetly.

Notts, having already lost William Butler through injury, looked like they would also lose Rhys Jephson, who had to leave the pitch for treatment.

The turning point of the second half came on 41 minutes when Streetly found the back of the net through a short corner.

Five minutes later the game threatened to boil over when three players were shown yellow cards for what could best be described as ‘handbags’.

Despite being reduced to nine men Notts immediately attacked and went close to increasing their lead after good work from James Latta.

With both Notts and Streetly back to 11 players the equaliser came for the away team on 66 minutes.

While that should have given Streetly the edge, Notts found an inner resolve and pushed hard for a winner.

The introduction of Curtis Brooks created several half chances for Notts that they just couldn’t convert.

With the final score at 2-2 it was down to five penalty flicks for each team.

After the mauling Notts suffered against Streetly last time, Faulkner went for a different approach with his penalty takers.

The quality of the penalties was extremely high with Notts’ Allen Butler, William Butler, and Nathan Smith all coolly finishing and Streetly matching the flicks to take the score to 3-3.

Notts’ fourth penalty taker was first team newcomer Rhys Jephson, who dispatched his penalty into the roof of the net, showing a maturity beyond his years to equalise the previous Streetly penalty and leave the score at 4-4 with one flick each left.

However, Streetly’s luck ran out as the away side’s flick was sent powerfully wide of the post, leaving Matthew Cooper to take Notts into the last 16 with a confident flick.

This weekend North Notts travel to Warwick to play Berkswell and Balsall Common for the first time in the club’s history.