Tommy Kyle’s team may be struggling in the Coca-Cola Combination – they currently lie bottom of Division II and are without a win all season – but they have flourished in the cup competitions and have also reached the semi-final of the Touzel Memorial Cup.
With the scores tied at 3-3 after 90 minutes and 4-4 after extra time with Accies reduced to nine men after Tommy O’Hara and Noel Kernan had been sent off, Jamie Martin became a hero for the victors, scoring the crucial fifth penalty after Jose Costa had blasted wide for Wanderers.
‘I’m made up for the lads,’ said Accies coach Kyle.
‘They’ve worked so hard, especially after going down to nine men.
We haven’t won a league game all season, but that’s down to luck more than anything.
But to reach two semi-finals is great – it’s a fantastic achievement.’ Ged Horgan was head and shoulders above the rest, nodding in four times for Accies- and on each occasion from a Ben Gallichan cross.
Horgan’s first gave his side the lead on 15 minutes before Wanderers bounced back through Dominic Maher, who banged in a free-kick from 20 yards.
Horgan’s second restored Accies’ advantage ten minutes in to the second half, but Mark Reid levelled the game at 2-2 on 65 minutes.
Jon Southern gave Wanderers the lead for the first time in the match with ten minutes of normal time remaining – but Accies went on the attack, and Horgan made it 3-3 with four minutes to play.
Accies took the lead in extra time, again from Horgan’s head, but were reduced to ten men when Noel Kernan hauled down Neil Cabot and denied the Wanderers stalwart a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Kernan was given a straight red and the referee pointed to the spot – much to the disgust of Accies defender Tommy O’Hara, who felt the offence had occurred outside the box, and was booked for his protests.
Mark Reid converted the spot-kick to make it 4-4, but Accies ten men soon became nine, when a seething O’Hara was sent off for his second bookable offence.
With the game tied at 4-4 after extra time and with both sides converting their first four penalties, Costa screwed his wide for Wanderers – and Martin found the net, sending Accies through to the semi-final in the process.
Teams: Sporting Accs: David Clarke, Jonny Irwin, Tommy O’Hara, Pedro Lopes, Noel Kernan, Sean Doran, Ben Gallichan, Jamie Roberts, Ollie Lucas (Richard Irwin, 60), Ged Horgan, Jamie Martin (Michael Perreira, 80).
Wanderers: Greg Forster, Neil Crowell, Kevin Crowell, Chris Corfield, Jose Costa, Marcus Bailey, Dominic Maher (Justin Jouan), Neil Cabot, Ben Andrews, Mark Reid, Jon Southern.