Penalty horrors after Murray's ‘worldy’
NORTH revelled in a ‘worldy’ strike from Sam Murray and then groaned at seeing their awful series of spot-kicks as they bowed out of the Rawlinson in a shoot-out at the Track.
The game should have been remembered for Murray’s first-half stunner but in the end a good crowd went home talking about a distinctly average series of pens which Rovers won 3-1.
Rovers were without striker Will Fazakerley, over the fence training with the Green Lions, but the good news for the league champions was the presence of Carlos Canha and, encouragingly after injury, Sam Hall.
North made only one change from the side which had despatched Saints so comfortably in the opening round, with Ben Bullock coming in. They were two strong starting XIs and after just two minutes Hall and Canha were combining for a wonderful opportunity, but the latter’s firm strike was brilliantly blocked on the line by Chris Le Cheminant.
It was a big let off but North quickly grew into the game and Sam Murray went mightily close on 7min.
The late afternoon rain enabled the ball to zip around faster than anything previously seen in this year’s competition, but for most of the half the two well matched sides cancelled each other out with neither keeper seeing much meaningful action.
Ryan Lamb bucked that trend as he forced Josh Addison into a near-post block that deflected over for a corner, and then a moment of sheer brilliance.
Murray took the ball on his chest 20 yards out and with his back wholly to goal produced a stunning overhead kick that tore into the top far corner. Perhaps no better goal will be scored this season.
Tyler McKane went close to an equaliser and with the last kick of the half junior Thiago, on for Hall, pulled a good chance wide.
North had two good chances early in the second period and paid for missing them as Blair Howitt levelled on 65.
Murray scrambled a second on 73, reward for strong North pressure, but 10min. later sub Dale Webb volleyed a beauty on Canha’s pass.
Addison made a scrambling 89th min. save and North also looked to have won a late, late penalty, but referee Tony Sarre waved aside strong claims and it was into the shoot-out.
North: Riley, Cooley, Cochrane, Le Cheminant, Marsh, Bourgaize, Bullock, L. Mollet, Marley, Murray, Lamb. Subs: Ramsden, Mahieu, Matthews, Cacace, Fitchet. Rovers: Addison, McKane, Falla, Le Tocq, Strawbridge, Queripel, Hall, Howitt, Batiste, Canha, McKay. Subs used: Graham, Thiago Rodrigues, Ravenscroft, Webb.