Penalty defeat for Rangers in Christian Trophy
Norwich church football team Heigham Park Rangers were knocked out of the National Christian Trophy on Saturday as a penalty shoot-out ended a thrilling quarter-final tie. Keith Morris reports.
Rangers (representing St Thomas Church Norwich), from the Norfolk Christian Football League played Raynes Park United Churches from the Wimbledon & District Football League at a rainy Eaton Park, Norwich.
Facing two former players in Dan and Oli Henery, Rangers swept into an early lead with a header from Edmund Jones after a free kick was awarded on the edge of the Raynes Park penalty area.
Things got worse for the visitors after 15 minutes when their captain and goalkeeper Nick Osborne was sent off for serious foul play when he floored attacker Edmund Jones with an illegal challenge outside the box.
Raynes Park held on until half time and then came out very strongly in the second 45 minutes and Dan Henery scored two quick goals to put them ahead. A third was ruled out for a foul challenge in the box.
But Rangers were not overawed and got back into the game themselves with a header from a corner by Doug Beckett to level the score.
The tie went from end to end until the final whistle and then into extra time. Rangers looked more likely to score as Raynes Park flagged with only ten men and the home team had a goal disallowed for offside. But no-one could break the deadlock so it went to penalty kicks.
The Raynes Park substitute keeper Jake Walton (who had "a cracker of a game" according to manager Nick Osborne), saved the first two Rangers penalties and Oli Henery put in a fourth and winning penalty for the visitors to win a thrilling and close encounter to secure a place in the semi-final.
Rangers’ manager Tom Woods, who was ruled out of the tie with a positive Covid test on the morning of the match, said: “Dan and Oli both grew up in Norwich, with Dan having managed and played for Heigham Park Rangers in previous seasons and Oli also having played for us as well.
“I'm immensely proud of the team for the cup run, they represented the team and the Norfolk Christian Football League to the best of their ability and I couldn't have asked for more.”
Click here to read our previous story on this topic.
Click here or see below for a picture gallery of the game.