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Leeming hold their nerve to book final spot

Report by Alex Vlahos

Leeming Strikers are through to the Belt Up Amateur Cup Final after they defeated Stirling Panthers 4-2 at Gerry Archer Sports Complex on Wednesday night.

With the score locked at 2-2 after 90 minutes, Leeming scored twice in a fiery extra-time period in which Stirling had two players sent-off.

In the all-Premier final Leeming will face Kingsley, who defeated Jaguar FC 2-1 after extra time. It is a repeat of the Night Series Final, which Leeming edged 1-0.

Leeming player-coach David Palin said: “Everyone has been working hard towards this goal since the merger with North Lake.

“We know what we will get from Kingsley, they are a very strong club and we look forward to the challenge.”

Leeming went in front on four minutes when striker Lucas Pickering executed a wondrous bicycle kick over Stirling keeper Michael Dudek.

But Division One Stirling responded immediately as Daniel Silla caused the Strikers plenty of problems down the left wing.

And they drew level after 37 minutes thanks to a glorious strike from James McPhail.

But Leeming went back ahead shortly after half-time via a delightful team goal which was finished by Palin.

Urged on by their supporters, Stirling kept pushing and found their equaliser a minute from time when McPhail pounced on a loose ball in the box to strike home.

As extra-time progressed, players began to tire and tempers began to flare.

Panthers had Christian Bagioni sent-off for a foul on 96 minutes and Leeming were then awarded a penalty on 110 minutes after Dudek brought down Palin.

Karl Gorman slotted the penalty home and Palin completed his double three minutes later to put the game out of Stirling’s reach.

Simon Da San Martino’s dismissal reduced Stirling to nine men on 113 minutes after an incident following Palin’s second.

With a place in the Belt Up Amateur Cup final on the line, tensions were high late on and it was Leeming who were able to hold their nerve and book a place in the decider.

The Belt Up Amateur Cup Final will take place on September 23.