Star Sergeant earns stripes in cup drama

What a winner - Tom Sargeant who rifled home an extra time goal to take Horncastle Town through to the  last eight of the Lincolnshire Junior Cup

What a winner - Tom Sargeant who rifled home an extra time goal to take Horncastle Town through to the last eight of the Lincolnshire Junior Cup

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Horncastle Town battled into the quarter finals of the Lincolnshire Junior Cup after an extra-time winner from Tom Sargeant at Spalding Town.

Town fully deserved their place in the last eight, but they almost paid the price for missing a host of chances in the opening 90 minutes.

A goal early in the second half looked as though it was going to take Spalding through, but a late strike from substitute Gareth Melia finally beat the home ‘keeper who had pulled off a series of fine saves to frustrate Town.

Then, Sargeant won it in the first period of extra time when he capped a fine solo performance by crashing home the winner from 30-yards.

Town boss Paul Johnson made a number of enforced changes with skipper Chris Johnson, Michael Harness and Steve Lovett all being restored to the starting line up along with ‘keeper Jason Stamford, who made his competitive debut for the first team.

After a nervy opening, Town took the initiative and although a heavy pitch made flowing football difficult, they dominated possession.

Tony Edwards and Sargeant were a threat in wide areas and with Mickey Stones holding the ball up well, they started to create chances.

Richard Jackson fired just wide and Sargeant blasted over.

Those misses proved to be the story of the game as a combination of inspired goalkeeping and wayward finishing denied Town and it was Spalding who went ahead.

Edwards, Sargeant and Nathan Rawdon all went close as Town pressed before sub’ Melia curled in a classy effort with just four minutes to go.

As the tension mounted, Melia threatened again but Sargeant stepped up to find the top corner - much to the delight - and relief - of his teammates and the travelling Wongers.

Town - Stamford, Rawdon, Shinn, Lowman, Chris Johnson, Lovett (Callum Low), Edwards, Jackson, Stones, Harness (Gareth Melia), Tom