The rearranged 2nd round Birmingham Senior Cup tie looked destined for penalties as both sides played out a stalemate until the late drama of the final minutes. Kairo Mitchell‘s goal looked like it would be the winner as his 89th minute strike broke the deadlock, however, Craig Jones headed home from a free kick in stoppage time to send us to penalties.
Regulation passed mostly without incident, Andre Olukanmi and Mitchell troubled the Bromsgrove defence with their pace but chances were at a premium. Kelvin Langmead, making his first start of the season after a long spell out injured, marshalled Boro’s defence and kept Sporting’s front man Jason Cowley relatively quiet. Both keepers had quiet evenings but stepped up when called upon. Elliott Taylor made a magnificent double save in the 55th minute to deny Connor Deards early in the second half, and Reece Francis also impressed when called in to action, tipping a Ryan Richmond effort round the post at full-stretch.
As the game looked destined to finish 0-0, Josh Steele pursued the ball furiously and set Olukanmi away down the left. The pacey winger beat his man and pulled the ball back to Mitchell who fired past Francis for what looked sure to be the winner. Bromsgrove didn’t let their heads drop and when they won a free kick out wide on the left, Jones rose highest to head past Taylor. With the 90 minutes up Referee Ben Cooke blew the final whistle and both teams prepared themselves for penalties.
Boro’ went first in the shape of Billy Daniels, he converted to Francis’ right for a 1-0 lead. Josh Quaynor levelled before Ryan Richmond restored Nuneaton’s advantage. Jason Cowley pulled the sides level again but Kairo Mitchell stepped up to put Boro’ 3-2 ahead. Taylor dove to his right and kept out Holt’s effort, but Jean Jhonnes was foiled by Francis to keep Bromsgrove in touch. Dan Preston sent his spot kick high over the bar to keepthe score at 3-2 after four spot kicks each. It was left to Joel Dielna to take the crucial penalty, Francis dived to his right and got a glove on the ball put the Frenchman’s spot kick was powerful enough to beat him and hand Boro’ an insurmountable 4-2 lead.
Perhaps the real story of the night was the performance of the Academy players who looked right at home amongst the first team. Obaro Edobor and Jamal Adams were solid defensively and Ashley Elliott consistently broke up opposition play allowing Jean Jhonnes to create in midfield. Josh Steele, who replaced Edobor at half time, was a threat on the left hand side and played a huge part in the goal and Ryan Richmond looked a goal threat after his second half introduction. Nuneaton move on to the quarter-final where they will entertain Walsall on a date to be arranged.