Ryhall win dramatic semi-final against Stamford Bels

Ryhall United scraped through to the final of the PFA Challenge Cup after winning 4-3 in extra time against local rivals Stamford Belvederes on Saturday.

Stamford appeared to be heading to the final but Ryhall equalised with a dramatic last-minute penalty that took the game to extra time.

United had to come back again in extra time after Stamford Bels had taken the lead despite being down to just eight men.

Ryhall scored two goals in the final five minutes of the added time to win the tie.

Earlier, they had got a dream start when a curling free kick by Michael Webb was deflected off a defender past Bels keeper Shaun Greetham for an own goal within the first five minutes.

A strong wind hampered a disjointed game but Ryhall defended well.

Then with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, it was Ryhall’s turn to struggle with a free kick into the area and when the ball was only half cleared, Sean O’Donnell was on hand to bundle it in for an equaliser.

Bels took the lead on the stroke of half time as another needless free kick was conceded and this time a fierce shot took a huge deflection off David Wagstaffe to wrongfoot Ryhall keeper John Feetham and roll into the net.

The second half saw Ryhall pen Bels back but they did so without creating a 
clear-cut chance until, with only seconds left, a Steve Keegan cross was misjudged by Greetham and the ball fell to the feet of United forward Chris McRoyal.

With the goal gaping, he was wrestled to the floor and a penalty was awarded.

A straight red card followed before McRoyal dusted himself down to slot the crucial kick into the bottom corner to send the game to extra time.

A melee followed that saw the referee show two further red cards to Bels players for dissent, leaving them to play the extra time with just eight players.

Astonishingly, Ryhall failed to make the extra players count and it was the depleted side who took the lead, as O’Donnell raced clear of the Ryhall backline to coolly roll the ball under Feetham.

In shock, Ryhall looked totally lost until Sam Bush restored parity with a rare bit of skill that saw him control and shoot into the top corner.

Penalties looked certain as the brave eight men of Bels defended like their lives depended on it until the final minute when McRoyal stole the headlines.

His outstanding strike from 20 yards curled past Greetham into the back of the net to send Ryhall to the final and break the hearts of Stamford Bels.

Ryhall: John Feetham, Barry Burton (Russ Aust), Danny Sheehan, Robbie Blowers (Steve Keegan), Michael Webb, Joe Lippet, Greg Dunn, Ryan Brown (Sam Bush), Jake Walton, Chris McRoyal, Jack Travers (Sub James Sheehan)