Whitchurch Alport march on in FA Vase with Jack Sheward’s penalty heroics
Goalkeeper Jack Sheward was the hero as his two penalty shootout saves helped book Whitchurch Alport's place in the third round of the FA Vase.
A thrillingly tense re-arranged second round tie went all the way at Yockings Park, where it was Adam Shillcock's hosts who held their nerve to progress.
Home skipper Alex Hughes had just clattered the crossbar for the second time in the tie when, inside the final 20 minutes, Alport's Chris Aziamele converted from close range after fine wide play and a delivery from former AFC Telford youngster Harry Bower.
That cancelled out Brandon Beardmore's opener for the Leicestershire visitors, of the same level in the United Counties Premier South. Beardmore also sent a glorious chance wide with his side 1-0 up.
Both sides netted their first spot-kicks before missing the second. Alport were then denied twice more with goalkeeper Sheward – who works as a coach in Wolves' academy – making two fine saves.
Former Shrewsbury Town left-back Junior Brown stepped up as Alport's fourth taker and the ex-Meadow favourite converted to ensure Shillcock's men made it through to round three.
Whitchurch travel to another step five club, Biggleswade United, on Saturday, December 2.
Meanwhile in the Premier Division, ninth-placed Shifnal Town's home clash against promotion-hunting Highgate United, who are third, was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch following a pitch inspection on Saturday morning.
In Division One action, AFC Bridgnorth responded from three straight defeats to move themselves clear of the drop zone.
A 3-0 home success over mid-table Chelmsley Town saw the Meadow Men two places and five points clear above the bottom three.
Luke Morris bagged the all-important opener for Bridgnorth after just 10 minutes. Jason Pike superbly picked out George Marsh from deep and the latter slipped Morris through on goal to finish calmly.
It could have been more for the dominant hosts and it took until seven minutes into the second half for a deserved second goal as Morris once again showed good composure to tuck beyond the Chelmsley goalkeeper.
Substitute Elliot Lee applied the icing to Bridgnorth's cake with a neat finish in stoppage time.
Shawbury United are just one place and three points better off than Bridgnorth after a 1-0 home defeat – but earned pride for a battling display against league leaders Hinckley AFC.
Hinckley's Brady Middleton netted what proved to be the winner after a mix-up on 14 minutes, but Shawbury pushed through and deserved a share of the spoils.
The hosts were left scratching their heads at the decision not to award a penalty as Cody Rimmer was brought down while in on the Hinckley goal.
Allscott Heath are fourth and in the congested play-off positions after a 4-1 home success over basement boys Smethwick Rangers.
Leigh Brindley nodded in from a long throw before an own goal made it 2-0 at half-time. Rangers pulled one back after the interval but debutant Matt Johnson calmed nerves with an 87th-minute goal and Tom Fallon sealed the win with a stoppage time penalty.
Market Drayton Town were without a fixture in the North West Counties First Division South this weekend.