Bury Town 1
Newmarket Town 1
(Bury won 8-7 on pens)
Newmarket Town fought hard against a higher league opponent and only just came up short, manager Kevin Grainger said.
He was responding to his team’s second round Premier Cup exit, having taken Step 4 side Bury Town all the way to a penalty shoot-out.
It also follows reports of a turbulent dressing room for The Jockeys, amid a string of players leaving in recent weeks.
But the manager had nothing but praise for his Step 5 team, in a performance he believed his players can be proud of.
He said: “We played really well and stayed in the game throughout.
“We created some great chances and I think a draw was no more than we deserved.”
It was Newmarket who delivered the first blow, against the run of play.
Austin Diaper’s close range header broke the deadlock in the 74th minute, despite the Blues having the lion’s share of chances.
But Bury Town kept plugging away and, when it was starting to look like an equaliser might not happen, defender Joe White fired home in the 87th minute to set up the dramatic conclusion.
Grainger added: “It’s unfortunate that we then failed to take the chance to win when it came to us, we were unlucky not to get a better result really.
“But we only had 11 players fit tonight and basically had no substitutes, which made it a lot harder for us.
“That said, we had a chance to win the penalty shootout and we didn’t take it.”
Man of the Match Tommy Robinson had seen his penalty saved by Alex Archer, to give Lewis Whitehead a chance to win the game for The Jockeys.
But Bury’s reserve goalkeeper Ben Mayhew also produced a fine stop to deny Whitehead.
Ryan Yallop then hit Bury’s eighth successful penalty before Mayhew saved again, this time stopping Jordan Finneran to see his side progress to the quarter finals.
The draw will take place on Saturday on BBC Radio Suffolk (5.30pm).
n Newmarket were bidding to bounce back after a 2-1 defeat on the road to FC Clacton in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division on Saturday.
Steve Spriggs, who picked up a niggle in the game and was not fit against Bury, scored, but the side were unable to prevent the loss — despite their opponents having a player sent off.
Grainger said it was a ‘disappointing result’ against the mid-table side.
The Jockeys have now dropped to sixth place in the league, and 25 points off leaders Felixstowe.