Trophy hopes ended in penalty shoot-out

City’s FA Trophy hopes ended at the first hurdle this afternoon in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Dartford at Twerton Park. The 2nd Round game finished goalless after 90 minutes before the visitors netted all five of their spot kicks which meant Alex Fletcher’s miss was enough to decide the tie. With the fringes of Storm Arwen blowing across Twerton Park it made for a tough afternoon for both sides, but City will feel they had the better of the chances in normal time to beat the Vanarama National League South leaders. The conditions were in their favour during the first period and City gave the Dartford’s defence several nervous moments however it wasn’t until the latter stages of the half that they came close to breaking the deadlock. Great work down the left by Cody Cooke on 38 minutes saw him pick out Alex Fletcher but he could only steer a shot against the post, then five minutes later Joe Raynes’ 30-yard effort clipped the top of the crossbar. Dartford enjoyed more possession after the break but it was still City who looked the more likely scorers. In the 52nd minute Cooke nicked the ball off keeper Wilks but lifted his shot over the bar then Fletcher’s teasing cross beat Wilks but no striped shirt was there to apply the finishing touch. As the game entered its final ten minutes Dartford finally began to threaten a winner, Hyde somehow hitting the post from close range then Clarke producing a stunning full length save to turn Wanadio’s shot over the bar. Moments later City thought they had won the game as Tom Smith’s shot came down off the crossbar and appeared to cross the goalline but the officials were unmoved. When a stoppage time free-kick from 25 yards for Dartford came to nothing the game went to penalties. Cooke, Eddie Jones and Elliott Frear were all successful for the Romans but, with Clarke comfortably beaten by all five Dartford kicks, Wilks’ save from City’s second penalty by Fletcher saw the Kent side into the 3rd Round.