Demon Knights won a penalty shoot-out to advance through to the fourth round of the FFA Cup for the second successive year.
Last year DK and Oxley Vale Attunga progressed through as the two Northern Inland sides.
That won’t be happening this year after DK knocked OVA out 5-4 on penalties in Tamworth on Sunday.
“It was a really really tough game. I thought first half we were quite good. Oxley Vale come back into it into the second half. I think they hit the upright three times so they’d probably be a bit disappointed but we’re happy,” DK coach Evan Quaife said of a game his side led twice.
Naran Singh had put them ahead 1-nil only for Duncan Ferguson to equalise for the Mushies.
The run of the attack was with the home side and they had the chance to go ahead with about 15 minutes to go after Mitchell O’Keefe was brought down inside the box.
But DK keeper Luke Birmingham snuffed out Ferguson’s penalty attempt, and instead it was Malochi Reese giving the visitors a 2-1 lead with some deft work on the right post.
The Mushies were still creating plenty of chances and hit the post twice before Will Menz put a lovely ball through to find James Bailey, who chipped over an advancing Birmingham to lock the scores up at 2-all with just over five minutes remaining.
With no additions to the score the game went into penalties.
Both sides were successful with their first shot, OVA missing with their third, which was the difference in the end.
Quaife said his side will take a lot of confidence out of the win and thought there were some good signs for the season.
“I thought we worked for each other during the game. I thought we held our positions pretty well, I thought we won a lot of the good challenges that we had to. We didn’t have a lot of chances today but we took the couple that we had,” he said.
Missing more than half of the side that played in last years grand final, it was a big effort from OVA to force the game into what coach Tim Coates referred to as a “raffle ticket” against a DK side that he rates as “a good side”.
He was subsequently not too disappointed, although recognised that they created enough chances, the post not proving their friend.
“We probably had them for legs in the second half,” he said.
He thought they at times moved the ball around pretty well, but was most pleased with “the way that everyone had a go”.
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