Saturday saw the Citizens host Ardley United in the third round of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup. The game ended 1-1 which meant the game had to be decided via Penalty Shootout, the Citizens would be hoping to win this one, having been knocked out of the Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Football Association's Senior Cup a few weeks ago by Aylesbury Dynamo's after that game was also decided via a penalty shootout. The penalty shootout ended 6-5 to The Citizens earning the club it's first penalty shootout win in ten years.
The Citizens came in to Saturday's game on the back of a shock league defeat against Easington Sports, which finished 1-5 and after having a week to reflect, Simon Johnson and Sam Woodruff were hoping for an instant reaction from their side and from the kick off the Citizens worked hard, there wasn't much to report on in the first half as both clubs worked hard to try and find the opening goal , that goal would come in the forty second minute as the referee awarded Ardley United a penalty and sent off Steve Lee for a foul, a controversial decision that the city bench and supporters disagreed with as Steve Lee had clearly won the ball fairly. With the Citizens reduced to ten men, Tobias London put the ball past Charlie York from 12 yards and gave our visitors the lead as half time approached.
The referee brought the first half to a close with the Citizens trailing 0-1.
In to the second half now and the Citizens started very brightly and wouldn't let the decision made by the referee in the first half affect them. In the eighty first minute the Citizens hit the post as they looked for a way back in the game, then in the eighty third minute the Citizens would win a free kick on the edge of the box, unfortunately the ball was sent over the bar. Eighty four minutes Mo Davies put a great cross into the box but it was intercepted by Ardley United's defence before it caused any danger.
Into added time now and the Citizens were still searching for that equaliser and on the 93rd minute Arthur Furness would become the hero as he equalised for The Citizens. Soon after the referee would call time on proceedings and with the scores level at full time, the game would be decided via a penalty shootout.
Ousman Darboe who has recently re-joined us from Bracknell Town had the honour of taking the first penalty and converted, Ardley United then converted their first penalty. Adam Cashin-Murray would step up for the Citizens and slotted it past the keeper. Ardley United then slotted their second penalty past Charlie York to keep the pressure on, Mo Davies stepped up for our third and the Ardley United keeper saved it. Ardley United would step up for their third but Charlie York made a great save to ensure they were denied as well. Now time for the Citizens to take their fourth penalty, up stood the hero of the afternoon Arthur Furness whose late equaliser led us to a penalty shootout. Arthur Furness would put the ball past the Ardley United keeper for the second time that afternoon. Ardley would then convert their fourth penalty. Stepping up for the Citizens fifth penalty would be Mckoy Palmer which he slotted past the keeper. Ardley United stepped up for their fifth with the pressure on as they had to score this to keep themselves in the game and slotted the ball passed Charlie York to keep the shootout going.
Matt Stockill stepped up to take our sixth penalty and converted, Ardley would also convert their sixth penalty to keep the shootout and their hopes of progressing alive. Luis Le Pais then stood up to take our seventh penalty and converted. Time for Ardley United to go again, the pressure was on again as they knew they had to score to keep their hopes of progressing alive once again. Charlie York however saved their shot which meant the Citizens would win the shootout 6-5 and progress to the next round of the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup, if that's not enough reason to celebrate, the penalty shootout win was the club's first in a decade.