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Reserves - Cup dream over after shootout heartache

By Jamie Montigue

Eastleigh Res v Team Solent: Gareth Barfoot, Jordan O'Donnell, Ben Wilson, Charlie Bailey, Joe Crook (c), Liam Hibberd, Toby Osman (Sam House 77), Chris Mason, Ben Chambers, Sam Wilson (Will Aimson 61), Liam Robinson (Justin Grandison 49).

Southampton Senior Cup Semi-Final,  played at Sholing FC

Eastleigh started the game well with good pressure as Chris Mason hit the post after two minutes, and then just three minutes later, the Spitfires forced another save out of the Team Solent goalkeeper when Liam Robinson's snap shot was on target.

Ben Chambers was the next to come close for the Spitfires' youngsters closely followed by striker Sam Wilson, whose 25-yard stinging effort proved too hot to handle for the keeper.

On the stroke of half time, first team goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot - who played this evening for match practice following a recent suspension -  made an important double save to keep Team Solent out.

Team Solent had an early chance in the second half to break the deadlock but squandered the opportunity putting a free header from 6 yards out, wide of goal in the 56th minute.

On the hour mark, Ben Chambers was very unlucky to see his shot  from outside the box saved just when it looked as if the lofted effort might have caught the keeper out. The Team Solent stopper got back in the nick of time to get a vital touch on the ball.

Toby Osman nodded comfortably wide from a Ben Wilson cross in the 64th minute, before Justin Grandison saw his looping left-foot shot fly narrowly over the bar.

The lively Grandison, who came on early in the second half, broke down the left once more and drove a low shot goal wards that the Team Solent keeper managed to turn behind for a corner, saving with his legs. Joe Crook headed wide from the resulting set piece.

Six minutes from time, Sam House had a header saved as Eastleigh looked to find a winner in normal time.

With ninety minutes played, and no separation between the teams - fifteen minutes each way of extra time would be played as the cup tie had to be settled on the night.

Grandison had an effort kept out early in the first half of extra time following a cross to the far post from Liam Hibberd.

The best chance to win the game was yet to come, as Eastleigh's Will Aimson was gifted the ball in front of goal by the Team Solent goalkeeper, who quite literally passed the ball to the Eastleigh striker's feet. Aimson managed to take the ball past the keeper but his touch was too heavy and it allowed defenders to get back on the line and clear the danger.

Both Chambers and Hibberd then came close for Eastleigh but at the break in extra time, there was still no sign of a goal.

Team Solent had a powerful shot cleared off the line from point blank range as Eastleigh defended well to keep the scores level.

Sam House looked as if he might have won the game for Eastleigh in the closing minutes of extra time, only to see his shot from the right heading towards the top corner of goal and tipped over the bar from a splendid diving save by the Team Solent keeper.

Still with nothing to settle the scores after extra time, the match would come down to a dreaded penalty shoot out for a place in the final; where the winning team would be rewarded with playing at Southampton FC's 32,500 seater St. Mary's Stadium.

Half Time: 0-0
End of ninety minutes: 0-0

Extra Time - HT: 0-0, FT: 0-0

Penalty Shootout - (O = Scored, X = Missed/Saved)

EASTLEIGH - OOXOXOX
TEAM SOLENT - XOOXOOO

Joe Crook scored Eastleigh's first penalty before Gareth Barfoot saved Team Solent's first spot kick well. 

Ben Chambers put Eastleigh 2-0 ahead before Team Solent made it 2-1 from their second penalty. 

Chris Mason had his penalty saved whilst Team Solent made it 2-2 with their third penalty. Justin Grandison put Eastleigh 3-2 in front, whilst Team Solent put their fourth penalty wide of the post meaning Jordan O'Donnell had the chance to win the shootout for Eastleigh; only to see his penalty saved well by the keeper. 

Team Solent drew level with their fifth penalty - 3-3, but Sam House put Eastleigh back in front - 4-3 in the first of the sudden death penalties. 

Team Solent then scored their penalty putting pressure on Eastleigh's Liam Hibberd, who saw his penalty saved. 

Team Solent knew they would win the game if they could score their next penalty, and  they  took the chance with a well struck penalty to beat Barfoot and spark wild celebrations for the University side, who have made the Final of this competition for three years running.

Team Solent won 5-4 on penalties.

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