Last-gasp extra-time header sends Sleights through

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IAN Smith’s 120th minute header earned Sleights a place in round three of the Junior Cup at the expense of Whitby RFC in a pulsating local derby at Whitby Rugby Club.

Sleights, who had been edged out in the past two encounters by their local rivals, began well and keeper Fish had to be alert to save on a couple of occasions in the first 20 minutes as Rugby Club rode their luck.

The home side started to come into the game but their final ball was a let down and the score remained 0-0 at the break, with the rugby club the happier of the two teams.

The second half saw Sleights come out the quicker and take the lead on 64 minutes when Theo Smith squeezed in from the tightest of angles from 20 yards, with RFC claiming a push on Rhucroft in the build-up to the goal.

This seemed to wake the home side up and they got an equaliser when impressive subsitute Mike Brennan flicked on Fish’s kick to Damon Craig who headed over the oncoming keeper and into the empty net for 1-1.

Headlam was forced into using all three subs inside the second half, with Hancock, Inglis and Steele all going off injured and with extra time looming, RFC went for the win.

Sleights could have won it in the 89th minute when Fish denied Webster, so the game went into extra time.

Wilson was sent off for foul and abusive language inside the first five minutes of extra time to put Sleights down to 10 men and the Rugby Club dominated, with Kilpatrick, Craig and Hogarth all spurning huge opportunities to get the vital third goal.

To their credit, Sleights did not sit back and hope for penalties. Webster and Smith both went close and when it looked like penalties were going to be needed, Ian Smith popped up to head home a corner with the last kick of the game to book an away trip to Loftus.

Whitby RFC manager Chris Headlam had no complaints about the result.

“Full credit to Sleights, they more than deserved the win on the day,” he said.

“We had our chances, especially in extra time and didn’t take them, Sleights took theirs and even when they down to 10 men they didn’t sit back as both sides went for the winner in a really good advert for local football.

“We were lucky in the previous two games to be on the right side of the result so I can’t complain at missing out this time.

“Good luck to Sleights in the next round.”

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