Paul Clayton missed the decisive spot-kick as Matlock Town knocked Derbyshire Senior Cup holders Alfreton Town out of this season’s competition at the semi-final stage after winning 5-4 on penalties.
The game ended in an exciting 3-3 draw in 90 minutes, with Craig Westcarr and Tom Allan giving the Reds a comfortable two-goal advantage inside 18 minutes.
Marcus Dinanga claimed a fine hat-trick before Westcarr scored from the spot to take the tie to penalties.
The hosts had started positively with Dwayne Wiley, Niall McManus and Ted Cribley all going close, but Alfreton scored with their first meaningful attack in the 14th minute when Westcarr found the roof of the net from six yards after Andy Monkhouse had pulled back Allan’s deep cross.
Four minutes later Paul Marshall found the overlapping Niall Heaton on the left, whose cross was hooked in at the near post by Allan, but a swift break by Matlock in the 32nd minute saw Dinanga steer the ball past Fabian Spiess from close range from an Andrew Wright cross.
McManus then forced Spiess into a sprawling save that saw the ball rebound off the upright on 34 minutes.
Then in the early stages of the second half Allan drilled wide and had a shot blocked before Matlock survived a hectic goalmouth scramble.
With 68 minutes on the clock Dinanga was sent through to side-step Spiess and find the net from a diminishing angle to make the score 2-2.
A dramatic finale saw Terry Kennedy handling a shot that led to a booking and Dinanga’s third goal from the penalty spot with eight minutes remaining.
Heaton then had what appeared to be a perfectly good header from a Mark Shelton free-kick disallowed for pushing, but Adam Yates impeded Paul Clayton in the 88th minute, allowing Westcarr to restore parity from the spot.
There is no legislation for extra-time in Derbyshire Senior Cup ties these days, so it was straight to a penalty shoot-out with Wright, Paul Ennis and Dinanga all scoring for the Gladiators whilst Monkhouse, Shelton and Westcarr found the net to make the score 3-3 in spot-kicks.
Cribley then smashed the ball against the crossbar, but Heaton’s shot was saved by home keeper Phil Barnes before Liam Marsden edged the home side ahead 4-3.
Cecil Nyoni kept a cool head to level proceedings again, then Spiess saved from Jake Green only for Kennedy to blaze helplessly over with the tie at his mercy.
Yates scored Matlock’s fifth shoot-out goal, and with the pressure mounting Clayton fired straight at Barnes and the contest had been settled.
They will face Gresley in the final after their 3-0 win over Buxton on the same night.
MATLOCK: Barnes; Marsden, Green, Taylor, A.Yates, Wiley (Degirolamo 56), McManus, Wright, Ennis, Dinanga, Cribley.
SUBS NOT USED: Newsham, J.Yates, Williams, Smith-Eccles.
ALFRETON: Spiess; Wilson (Gascoigne 45 mins, Jordan 74 mins), McGowan, Kennedy, Heaton, Nyoni,
Marshall (Clayton 82 mins), Monkhouse, Allan, Shelton, Westcarr.
SUBS NOT USED: Priestley, Hearn.
REF: James Oldham.