Southern League Division One Central play-off semi-final: Royston Town 0 Barton Rovers 0 (Barton win 5-4 on penalties)
Barton Rovers reached the Southern League Division One Central play-off final with a thrilling penalty shoot out win at Royston Town on Tuesday night.
Rovers went into the game as huge underdogs with the Crows on a 13 game unbeaten run and finishing as runners up in the division.
However, Barton in fifth, had nothing to lose and took the game to their hosts, with Ben Sawyer shooting wide,
Most of the play was a midfield battle, between the two evenly matched sides, although Rhys Hoenes made make some great runs on either flanks but couldn’t find a way through.
Visiting keeper Kyle Forster had little to do, while former Luton Town U18 striker Tuki Tayali was thwarted by a last-ditch challenge.
The game then boiled over moments before half time as Barton’s right back Alex Condon was caught by a cynical studs high challenge from Royston captain Scott Bridges.
The Crows skipper was shown red before a spate of handbags followed between all the management and players from both sides.
In the end, Royston’s manager was dismissed, along with Barton’s Peter Gatti, who received his second yellow, in what was an exceptionally harsh decision.
After the break, Forster made a fine save from home striker Khan Fehmi before being called into action again to push a long range effort on to the bar.
Royston were content to soak up pressure and break on the counter, although Barton had the odd chance through Hoenes and Jack Keating.
With the scores goalless at full time, an extra 30 minutes was played, but with both sides down to 10 men and looking weary, neither could produce any significant clear-cut opportunities.
Penalties followed and Rovers’ Kev Kilroy made no mistake to start with, before Joe Reynolds, Hoenes, Lucas Perry and Russell Bull all netted to make it 5-4.
Royston’s Robbie Nightingale spot kick was then superbly saved by Foster to the delight of the Barton players and management staff.
Rovers now travel to Bedworth on Monday for the play-off final, with the winner heading to the Premier Division next season.
Barton: Forster, Condon, Perry, Gatti, Andrews, Kilroy, Hoenes, Reynolds, Vincent, Tayali, Sawyer.
Subs: Keating, Bull, Peveral, Powell, Young.