Last-minute penalty wins derby thriller for Clay Cross

Josh Scully (left), whose last-minute penalty grabbed the points for leaders Clay Cross Town.
Josh Scully (left), whose last-minute penalty grabbed the points for leaders Clay Cross Town.

A last-minute penalty earned a dramatic 3-2 victory for Clay Cross Town in a pulsating top-of-the-table derby with Rowsley ‘86.

A crowd of 124 expected a thriller last Friday night between two sides yet to be beaten in the South Division of the Central Midlands League.

And that’s exactly what they got, with Rowsley leading 2-1 at one stage and looking sure to pick up a draw at least until the 90th minute when visiting player Aaron O’Neill handled in the box.

Referee Bradley Maw had no option but to award a spot-kick, and Josh Scully showed no signs of pressure at all as his hard and low drive beat goalkeeper Matt Rhodes.

The win lifted Clay Cross three points clear in first place as they look forward to another local derby on Saturday, this time at home to mid-table Swanwick Pentrich Road.

Hero Scully had also created the opening goal of the Rowsley clash, delivering a corner that was met by a glancing header from Joah Parfitt in the 24th minute.

However, the visitors equalised 11 minutes later when an unstoppable 25-yard drive from Shomari Doyle left little hope of Ryan Hopkins making a save. And eight minutes into the second half, Rowsley took a shock lead as Noah Evans forced the ball home.

At this point, Clay Cross looked in danger of their first defeat of the season. But again they were rescued by the silky skills of Scully, who pulled the trigger from 20 yards and saw his shot fly past the outstretched Rhodes.