Vipers hold their nerve

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Wirksworth Vipers U11 3

South Normanton U11 3

(Vipers win 3-0 on penalties)

The top two unbeaten teams in the league came head to head in this Primary Cup semi-final.

It proved a thrilling encounter with South Normanton starting the strongest, kicking downwards with the strong winds behind them and pushing Wirksworth back, struggling to play their usual good football in the conditions.

After 15 minutes, the Normanton pressure paid off as they put the ball in the back of the net when Wirksworth struggled to clear the ball.

Soon after, it was 2-0 as Normanton scored again from an inswinging, wind-assisted corner which was bundled over the line. With half-time approaching, Normanton grabbed a third.

Vipers started the second half with the wind behind them, hoping to get back into the match but it was Normanton who had the best of the earlier stages, hitting the bar and coming close.

Around 15 minutes into the half, Vipers finally came to life when Charlie Mellor threaded a brilliant throughball for Ryan Baldwin to place into the bottom corner.

Now, Wirksworth started to show true grit and determination and completely took control of the match. Vipers got their second shortly after with a Lewis Higton free kick headed home by Tom Payne. With ten minutes to go Vipers levelled with a clearance from the defence sending Payne through and he smashed it past the advancing Normanton keeper.

Wirksworth remained on top but Normanton almost snatched it, although a wonder save from Vipers’ keeper Joe Whitfield took the game to extra time. This proved an even contest with neither side able to find a winner, sending the game into a dreaded penalty shootout.

Wirksworth converted the first three through Tom Payne, Ryan Baldwin and Lucas Brough. Normanton missed their first three after tremendous keeping from Whitfield sealed the win.