Peterborough Northern Star Ladies reached the Northants County Cup final yesterday (February 15) . . . but only just.
The city side nearly became victims of a giant-killing act as they were taken to a penalty shoot-out by underdogs Raunds Town in a thrilling semi-final at the Mick George Arena.
Raunds had been beaten 8-2 by Star in a league match just a couple of months ago but on this occasion Star found them much more difficult to break down.
Star boss Steve Iredale said: “We came up against a team that came with one thing on their mind and that was to defend with 10 players behind the ball from the very first whistle.
“They took the lead with a breakaway goal after 20 minutes and then defended even deeper.”
Five minutes into the second half, however, Star managed to find a way through when Vicky Gallagher slotted home to even the scores.
But despite intense pressure Star were unable to add to their tally. Raunds made three goal-line clearances and a 25-yard belter from Jodie Bartle hit the post and it finished all square after 90 minutes.
Star keeper Aiofe Bromley then became the heroine in the shoot-out saving two of the Raunds spot-kicks before midfielder Abbey Young slotted home Star’s fifth penalty to give her side a 4-2 win and a place in the final for the second time in three seasons.
Boss Iredale added: “After the epic game we had against Eastwood in the League Cup last week I think we were guilty of assuming that this game would be a little easier. But it nearly came back to bite us in the rear. Credit to Raunds though. They came to defend and stop us scoring and they nearly did that. It might not have been pretty but it nearly put them into the final.”
Star will now meet Northamptonshire-based Burton Park Wanderers in the final.