LUDLOW boss Chris Waldron could not speak any higher of his side as they played for almost two hours with 10 men to progress in the Shropshire Challenge Cup – after seven weeks without a game.

Ludlow triumphed 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw with Shropshire Premier side Madeley Sports on the artificial pitch at Bromfield Road to reach the competition’s quarter-finals.

They had Tom Everall harshly sent off inside the first 15 minutes but still progressed despite not having played a competitive game since mid-September.

Waldron said: “I can’t praise the lads enough – to play for that long with 10 men and still look the better side shows the character this team has got. They were absolutely brilliant.

“Some of them couldn’t even walk after the game which shows how much they put into it.

“What pleased me more than anything was that we hadn’t played for seven weeks and they still put that effort in. I couldn’t ask for any more.”

Everall was sent off for an alleged stamp – something the player vehemently denied – early on but the perceived injustice only served to harden Ludlow’s resolve.

Ryan Lewis put them ahead before the break and Sean Evans made it two around the hour mark, delightfully lobbing the Madeley keeper from around 25 yards.

The visitors took advantage of a tiring Ludlow to score twice to force extra time and could have gone ahead, only to blaze over from the spot after a contentious penalty decision.

Madeley’s spot-kick sorrows continued in the shoot-out, missing twice as successful penalties from Zac Williams, Dan Griffiths, James Byatt and Lewis rendered Evans’ miss for Ludlow irrelevant.

Ludlow are now hoping to play their first West Midlands League Division Two game in almost two months at home to Newport Town this Saturday.

Ludlow Colts are using the artificial surface but Waldron hopes Newport will agree to a late kick-off on the 3G if the grass pitch is waterlogged.

They will be boosted by the return of Jack Marston, who has re-joined from Shawbury, and Waldron added: “If we want to be competing at the top of this league, it’s a must-win game."