Tenbury Town 2 Woofferton 1
MARK Boucker haunted his old club with a 25-yard wonder strike in the dying minutes of an absorbing HFA Junior Cup semi-final.
Boucker said he feared a penalty shoot-out defeat before his unstoppable shot bounced in off the crossbar to send Tenbury Town into their first-ever cup final.
“I thought the tie was going to penalties,” said Town’s Boucker, who played for Woofferton at under-16 level and had a season at senior level for the villagers. I know that Woofferton’s Danny Gower and Simon Bradley are good at penalties and I didn’t fancy our chances of beating them in a shoot-out.”
Just four minutes of extra-time were remaining at Palmer’s Meadow when Boucker picked up the ball around 30 yards from Woofferton’s goal.
“I am still a bit unfit after a long injury and I knew I didn’t have the legs in me to run past the last defender,” said 23-year-old Boucker. “I just hit the ball as hard as I could and, luckily, it struck the underside of the crossbar and went in. It’s always hard to come off the bench and I am over the moon to have finished the game off.
Town manager Darren Worthington described reaching a cup final ‘as a dream come true’.
“You never know what you are going to get with Mark.. He’s made me a very happy manager. To get to the cup final is a dream come true.”
Town will face the winners of the other semi-final, between Fownhope Reserves and Orleton Colts, which is being played this Saturday.
Woofferton player-secretary Dave Thomas said wastefulness in front of goal had cost his side dear in last weekend’s derby clash.
“In extra-time, Tenbury Town’s striker told me that we should be thrashing them and I agreed with him,” said Thomas.
“We should have taken our chances but Tenbury’s goalkeeper Steve Sumner saved a lot of shots. We could have been playing until tomorrow and I still don’t think we would have won.”
After a goalless 90 minutes, Town broke the deadlock just 15 seconds into extra-time when Chris Patton picked up a ball down the right and drilled a low shot past James Robertson.
But Woofferton, who play in Division One – one tier above Town in the Herefordshire League – hit back strongly.
The villagers deservedly drew level through Simon Bradley’s well-struck shot with 10 minutes of the tie remaining.
But Boucker’s fierce strike to clinch the match for Town was worthy of winning any cup tie.
Earlier, the prolific Danny Gower had Woofferton’s best opportunities and was twice denied in the first half by reflex saves from Town goalkeeper Sumner.
Sumner also pulled off a fingertip save to deny Gower in the second half.
Gower also shot wide from good positions, once after a weak clearance from Sumner had presented the striker with a clear run at goal.
Sumner said: “Woofferton are a good side and have some very good players, so I think it’s a cup shock. It’s brilliant to get to a cup final – it’s the best feeling in the world.”