Vase joy for Sleaford on penalties
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After a thrilling 3-3 draw that saw visitors Rainworth Miners Welfare net a 96th minute equaliser at the end of the regular 90 minutes, Sleaford ultimately held their nerve from the spot to make it into the second qualifying round.
Welfare had taken the lead just two minutes in when Tom Bedford raced through to score.
But Sleaford equalised ten minutes later when Joe Braithwaite headed home Tristan Drummond’s corner.
Shaun Harrad then set up Ryan Lennon to put Sleaford in front on 32 minutes, but Rainworth levelled before the break as Oliver netted his second.
Player-boss Tom Ward was then on hand to score what looked like it would be the winner on 73 minutes when he rose to power home a header from another Drummond corner.
But Callum Brooks scored right at the death to force the game straight to penalties.
Braithwaite and Ryan Rushen scored Sleaford’s first two kicks, but keeper Liam Flitton then missed their third.
However, Flitton quickly redeemed himself by saving Rainworth’s next kick and after Harrad and Finlay Armond had scored, Rainworth missed their fifth kick to bow out.
Boss Ward told the club’s media channels after the game: “We moved the ball around well and created lots of opportunities, but ultimately I was disappointed with our defending for a change as it isn’t like us.
"I include myself in that as if my communication is a bit better with Joe Braithwaite we maybe at least get closer to a clean sheet but fair play to Rainworth, they created three chances and took them.
"I’m delighted for the boys and for Liam Flitton in particular who pulled off some great saves and showed what a good young player he is.”
Sleaford are back in action on Wednesday night (30th) when they go to Sherwood Colliery in the United Counties League Premier North.
They then go to Eastwood Community on Saturday before a trip to Wisbech Town three days later for a third successive away game.