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Ben Rhydding bow out on penalties
8:22am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
Old Loughtonians 2 Ben Rhydding 2
Ben Rhydding’s brave run to the last eight of the National Cup came to a cruel end when they lost a penalty shoot out after a thrilling match.
Playing on a fantastic blue and pink pitch, Ben Rhydding did not let the home side settle and kept strong possession for lengthy periods.
Gaining penetration into Old Loughtonians’ circle several times certainly got the home side rattled and exposed their weaknesses.
A penalty corner resulted in Nick Woodhead popping the ball in after desperate defending on the line by Old Loughtonians.
Ben Rhydding had the upper hand throughout the half; Josh Sykes and Elliot Dowley showed beautiful control in a very hectic and tight midfield but credit must go to the Cal Hodson and Nick Woodhead behind them who showed great belief in giving them good precision balls.
Old Loughtonians came out hard in the second half and the balance of power shifted.
Rhydding were on the back foot for a spell and Robert Radcliffe in goal made some electric saves. but couldn’t prevent Loughtonians from scoring twice.
Rhydding had conducted themselves with great unity and grit and now rose to the challenge again.
The last part of the match was Rhydding’s and they gave everything they had.
Frantic spoiling tactics by Old Loughtonians drew a series of corners that came agonisingly close but on the final whistle, a penalty stroke was awarded for a foot on the line.
Josh Sykes took the long walk to the spot and with nerves of steel put it away to level the scores.
Now the contest for a place in the National Finals was to be decided by penalty strokes.
The sickly tension of such situations means this is no different to a toss of a coin. Sadly, Rhydding lost 2-1 and the home players fell to the ground in relief.