Ryman League North Playoff Semi-Final: AFC Sudbury 0 Brentwood Town 0 (1-4 Penalties)

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Brentwood Town are through to the Ryman League North playoff final after a dramatic 4-1 penalty shootout victory away to AFC Sudbury at Wardale Williams Stadium.

Neither side could be separated within 120 minutes despite Brentwood being down to 10-men, which was decided by captain Martyn Stokes penultimate penalty.

Ollie Bowles was the standout player for Brentwood keeping them in the contest throughout the match and in the shootout saved two vital penalties to put Brentwood through.

Brentwood will now face local side Thurrock at The Brentwood Arena, in the playoff final on Sunday.

AFC Sudbury almost scored within 23 seconds as Luke Callander pounced on Brentwood’s defensive lapse and his shot on the edge of the box was well held by Ollie Bowles.

Kris Newby had a free-kick for the home side 25 yards out, which deflected off the wall and had to be parried by Bowles away down at his bottom left post.

From the resulting corner a goal mouth scramble was created as the ball was knocked to the far post and the ball fell to Craig Parker on the half volley but came back off the crossbar.

A short corner taken by Sudbury, fell to Parker to shoot which was deflected- in the box off James Love and Bowles had to re-adjust and claw out a superb save to palm it away for a corner.

Just five minutes into the second half, Sherwin Stanley clipped a ball across field for Sam Bantick who cut inside to shoot but was saved down low at the near post by Marcus Garnham.

Callander made it past Stokes to break the Brentwood defence but Bowles was quick off his line and blocked the shot with his leg.

The home side had another chance as Newby ran at Gardner, cut inside and his shot was held by Bowles.

Stanley battled in the middle of the park and burst forward, to slot in Love who turned the last defender but his shot was scuffed into the hands of Garnham.

Callander again dangerous and gained a yard on Stokes to shoot but was saved again by Bowles with his outstretched leg.

In injury time, Bantick whipped in a cross for substitute Tom Richardson to head goalwards which went just wide.

Early in extra-time Stokes headed the ball off the line for Brentwood as the Sudbury striker beat Bowles to the ball in the air, but was cleared away by the captain.

In the second half of extra time, Shad Ngandu was given a second yellow for a late tackle on Clarke and was sent to the stands.

Brentwood had a great opportunity with nine minutes to play, as a long ball by Love put Richardson in one on one but his shot was saved away for a corner by Garnham.

With moments remaining Clarke was in on goal after Sudbury won the knockdown but his shot on the edge of the box went over.

Into penalties and Richardson stepped up first for Brentwood which he sent the keeper the wrong way to gain an early lead.

James Baker made the long walk to the spot and Bowles again excelled himself with a great save down to his right, to give Brentwood the upper hand.

Substitute Jason Dobbs was next to take a spot kick and his shot was just powerful enough, despite a strong glove from Garnham – to squeeze in the top corner, to give Brentwood a two goal lead.

Parker put Sudbury on the board as he slotted in. Love kept Brentwood’s two goal advantage as he tucked it passed Garnham.

Newby was up next for Sudbury and his shot at Bowles was saved by his leg as he dived left.

Captain Stokes stepped up with the crucial penalty which he coolly slotted into the bottom right corner as Garnham went the wrong way, to book their place in the playoff final.

AFC Sudbury Lineup: 1 Mark Garnham, 2 Ben Robinson, 3 Scott Mitchell, 4 Ollie Berquez (90), 5 Ryan Henshaw, 6 James Baker, 7 Kris Newby, 8 Sam Clarke, 9 Luke Callander, 10 Craig Parker, 11 Jordan Blackwell (89)

Substitutes: 12 Terry Rymer (89), 14 Ayrton Coley, 15 Josh Kerridge (90), 16 Tyler Kemp, 17 Louis Johnson

Brentwood Town Lineup: Ollie Bowles, Jack Gardner, Louis Baucutt (81), Martyn Stokes ©, Ryan O’Rawe, James Love, Sam Bantick, Danny Dafter (91), Sherwin Stanley (74), Shad Ngandu, Andrew Freeman

Substitutes: Tom Richardson (74), Jason Dobbs (91), Daryl Robson (81), Christian Mbulu, Sam Cole

Attendance: 543

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